Governor’s Budget Slashes Child Welfare

MIAMI (CBS4) – Florida children like Nubia Barahona, her brother Victor, Ju’tyra Allen, Jermaine McNeil, Gabriel Meyers, Rilya Wilson; they are among the abused, the neglected, the dead..

“I believe in the protective power and prayer and hope,” Governor Rick Scott’s Department of Children and Families Secretary David Wilkins said at a stop in Miami last week.

But children’s advocates say kids in Florida won’t have a prayer if Governor Scott’s proposed massive cuts to DCF are approved.

The governor wants to slash DCF’s budget by $179 million. The cuts would eliminate 1,849 positions in the child welfare agency – a 14 percent reduction in its workforce.

Scott and Wilkins have avoided talking about the proposed cuts. Wilkins was vague in his responses at last week’s news conference. Governor Scott’s staff did not respond to emails from CBS4 News and Scott declined to answer questions posed by CBS4’s Gary Nelson during a stop in Miami on Friday.

Scott briefly addressed the issue when questioned at a news conference in Tallahassee Wednesday by CBS4’s Ted Scouten.

“One thing state government needs to do is tighten its belt,” Scott said. “We have to figure out how to be more effective with less money.” The Governor did not take follow-up questions.

Advocates for children and families argue that funding to DCF has been cut repeatedly over the years and that Florida ranks among the bottom ten states in assistance to kids who are in need or in danger.

“It’s very disturbing, I think,” said Modesto Abety, President of  The Children’s Trust of the Governor’s proposed budget. “It’s very dangerous.”

Abety said hard economic times are the worst time for help to children to be curtailed.

“We are in a deep economic crisis. The Department of Children and Families helps and supports our most vulnerable citizens,” Abety said. “In the past three months, we’ve seen a 38 percent rise in the number of children who are being called in to the help line.”

While Governor Scott has proposed massive cuts to DCF, he has proposed no such austerity for his own office. Scott wants to increase the budget of the Governor’s office by $343 million, an increase of 116 percent, adding 91 positions to his personal staff.

Some members of the Governor’s own party have declared his budget “dead on arrival” in Tallahassee. The alternative, advocates like Abety say, is more dead children.

More from Gary Nelson
Comments

One Comment

  1. TSL says:

    Dont blame me I did not vote for Rick Scott. It goes to show you how the average person does their homework prior to electing an official with little knowledge of their “background” if you all know what I mean.

    1. Claude Kirk says:

      Must have been all the Kennedy hating Cuban’s in Hialeah…I would never vote for such a crook

      1. Mia Chenique says:

        this is true.. love i your commnet ..exactly!

    2. JM says:

      TSL,

      I know exactly what you just like you my homework was done its unfornate that others did not and get out to vote in the last cycle. Florida is bombed in Education, Social Services, and Health Care getting the pictures any public sector areas. In the sectors many people will lost their jobs and increase the state’s unemployment rate.

  2. danv says:

    Republicans at work.

  3. lovingParent says:

    this guy makes me nervous..

  4. DL says:

    He cuts education by $3.3 billion and now DCF by $179 million, yet increase personal staff by $393 million. Where are the priorities?

  5. danv says:

    Repeal Gov Scott!

    1. FED UP says:

      HOW DO WE GET THIS MOVEMENT OFF THE GROUND. THE LONGER THIS P.O.S. IS IN OFFICE THE MORE DAMAGE WILL BE DONE TO THIS STATE.

      HOW DO YOU STOP A PROGRAM THAT CAN SAVE THE LIVES OF 7 FLORIDIANS DYING EACH DAY FROM DRUG OVERDOSE? YOU SAY IT’S A VIOLATION OF CIVIL RIGHTS??? YOU’RE AN IDIOT!!!!

  6. lovingParent says:

    I agree danv…when will we learn???

  7. FED UP says:

    HEY DICK, YOU SHOULD’VE BEEN IN A CELL BLOCK WITH BUBBA YOU WERE LUCKY TO GET AWAY WITH EMBEZZLING OVER A BILLION DOLLARS. IS THAT WHY YOU WANT TO SHUT SOME OF THE PRISONS SO THERE ARE LESS CELLS FOR PEOPLE LIKE YOU?

    AND UNFORTUNATELY THE VOTERS WERE STUPID ENOUGH TO PUT YOU IN OFFICE TO RUIN THIS STATE

    THINK ABOUT IT. WHAT COMPANY WITH HIGH PAYING JOBS WOULD MOVE TO FLORIDA KNOWING WE HAVE LESS COPS ON THE STREET WITH YOUR PROJECTED BUDGET CUTS, LESS TEACHER IN OUR SCHOOLS THAT ARE ALREADY RATED AT THE BOTTOM IN THIS COUNTRY, LESS FUNDS IN SOME OF THE IMPORTANT PROGRAMS FOR THE ELDERLY AND THE POOR.

    YOU NEED TO BE REMOVED FROM OFFICE.

    1. Janet says:

      Well said, you certainly covered all the important points….. the idiot voters basically gave this jerk a mandate…. steal from us & we’ll make you governor so now he thinks he can do all manner of incredibly stupid things. I’d love to move a way from Florida but whose gonna buy my house now?!?

  8. Recallmaster says:

    Why is he not serving a sentence for medicare fraud?

  9. T says:

    Rick Scott is the devil. I don’t know how all of the idiots out there could vote for a criminal who should be in jail right now, not leading our state. This is just one more instance of the line being drawn in the sand between the have’s and the have not’s. You better hope you are on the right side of the line because if you’re not it’s all down hill from here.

  10. DG says:

    THE POWER OF MONEY AND STUPIDITY. FLORIDIANS GOT WHAT THEY DESERVED.

  11. Bob says:

    How could he add 383 million to his own office and lay off all the rest of the people that actually provide a service for our communities

  12. tony montana says:

    The next child that dies due to a dcf screw up rick Scott should be charged with murder and impeached.

  13. alejandroomi says:

    I did not vote for Risk Scott for we know about his past and abuse of $$$ from the Federal Government… But, after the Barahona Children’s Tragedy, I don’t trust the “Department of Children and Families” either. Their track record is getting worse and not because of lack of funding for the money has not been cut off. That little girl that was murdered and her little twin brother that was burned with acid would have been alright if the ‘Social Worker; and other staff at DCF would have done their job rather than being concerned about ‘their weekend’. I expect that charges are placed on all of these DCF ‘characters’ as well. As the Spanish Refrain says: “Tanta culpa tiene el que mata la vaca como el que le amarra la pata.” In other words, ALL ARE GUILTY. Why would I want more of my Tax Dollars go to an organization that is getting a “C -” or “D” grade (F in my book)? DCF better get its act together first in order to proof to the citizens of this State that they are worthy of getting our Tax Dollars.

    1. Mia Chenique says:

      is it save to say..imadine all the other cases that will be sad like this one ..just one after the next.. imean this should never have happened not one case..and with this said how bad is it going to get now that there is no funding..just saying.. i agree with you

  14. Mia Chenique says:

    Gov. Scott, turns down HIGH-SPEED RAIL, based on the verbal review @document,provided by, REASON FOUNDATION@ HERITAGE FOUNDATION, BOTH r opposition groups founded and supported by the BILLIONAIRE KOCH brothers.Koch brothers behind WIS. GOV. WALKER and GOV. RICK SCOTT, to destroy middle class and unions. Is there not one DEM. that will have the guts to go on LOCAL T.V. AND LOCAL NEWSPAPER and call Scott out on his POLITICAL decisions based on Billionaires offensive ‘s to kill middle class, way of life, so there is only a CORPORATE OLIGARCHY,that has the throats of the AMERICAN CITIZENRY.

  15. Rich says:

    The cuts have to come from somewhere. It looks more like he’s hitting everyone across the board, not just this agency.

    1. Tom says:

      Except for, you know, his own office budget.

    2. Janet says:

      Are you not able to read?! He increased his office budget by 116%?!?! You must be one of the idiots who voted for him……nice going!

  16. Edward Nygard says:

    DCF has abused its power I have personaly seen them snatching kids for profit Gov. Rick Scott is taking there money becuse they need to tightin up they are taking kids for profit. He is taking this money and creating new jobs. Yes there is a need to protect our children this is going to make DCF refine there practices of taking kids for money. Now the will have to work now the will have to stop kid napping our children.

    1. Randy says:

      How much does Providence Service Corp. make per child in DCF foster system?
      How much are our kids worth?

      How much does Providence Service Corp. make per child in DCF foster system? Since DCF workers can buy stock options and have a 401K is it not in their best interest to make sure the company makes as much profit as possible ( on the backs of our children). Does it not seem wrong to anyone else that the people who remove the children can make money for each child removed, does it not seem wrong that a company makes millions while children suffer and families are broken apart?

      At this time the Providence Service Corp. PRSC (symbol) is trading for $12.20 up from $11.65.

      I wonder how much stock or 401k DCF workers have with Providence Service Corp., an Arizona for-profit corporation traded on the NASDAQ.? How much does your stock go up on each kid placed in the broken foster care system?

      This is just wrong, it feels as if our children are being traded on NASDAQ. I do not know how anyone can sleep at night trading our children on the NASDAQ.

      It is time to put a team together to start having a third party to investigate DCF not DCF. Don’t have the fox guarding the chicken coop. I pay taxes to the state of Florida and I would rather it go to our children and families rather than an Arizona Company. It is time to turn DCF in to an honest social service not a business. We need every body’s help let’s be there for the children and work for the children not our pockets. No more cash for kids.

  17. Kerry says:

    I hve a 12mnth old tht was takn by a dcf worker delibratly,my husband n i dun wht they wntd,n want 2 termite rites, its disgustng,that kids that arent abusd get takn and abusd kid dnt,whts goin on?we had a simple argument tht wasnt violent nor physical,

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