Governor Rick Scott will kick off his “Caring for Florida’s Families” tour in Miami. The tour will highlight new proposals and recent efforts to give the state’s children opportunities to succeed. In addition to the early learning and foster care elements, Scott also wants to expand a program that helps parents pay for education services for disabled children.
The suicide of 7-year-old Gabriel Myers in foster care shocked the child-welfare system in 2009. It led to a series of recommendations about Florida’s use of psychotropic medications on foster kids and how to protect already-traumatized children from sexual abuse by other abused children.
The upcoming year’s state budget surplus will turn into a windfall for social services programs. The new 2013-14 budget provides new money to many programs for the first time in five years.
Fear of government intervention in Miami-Dade’s heavily Hispanic and Haitian communities has led to the county having one of the lowest rates, among Florida’s larger counties, for calls to the state’s child abuse hotline.