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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) – The Sunshine State’s child welfare officials have recruited hundreds of new foster homes.

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The increase, to more than 600, comes after lawmakers passed a measure in 2013 aimed at improving the quality of people recruited to become foster parents and help retaining them.

The program also works to improve child safety and permanency for foster children.

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Approximately 10,000 children are in foster placements throughout the state.

Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Mike Carroll said Monday the agency has licensed 687 foster homes in the first six months of the fiscal year. That puts the agency on track for a record high recruitment year.

Carroll credited community based agencies throughout the state work for recruiting, licensing and matching foster parents with children in need of short or long-term homes.

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