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Top Questions We’re Asking because of Fight Club Coverage

In the wake of Miami Herald’s disturbing Fight Club expose, which sent shock waves throughout Florida, The Children’s Campaign has analyzed the news series and the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice’s (DJJ) responses in depth (see links at end of this story). The cases brought to light are egregious, but other harmful interactions occur between residential care staff (guards) and children. For example, taunting, which occurs until the victim acts out and gets punished, sometimes severely, for battery on a law enforcement officer. The guard’s instigation goes unnoticed and, therefore, unreported. Expectations for solving these long-standing abuses range from “get it...

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Top Questions We’re Asking because of Fight Club Coverage

In the wake of Miami Herald’s disturbing Fight Club expose, which sent shock waves throughout Florida, The Children’s Campaign has analyzed the news series and the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice’s (DJJ) responses in depth (see links at end of this story). The cases brought to light are egregious, but other harmful interactions occur between residential care staff (guards) and children. For example, taunting, which occurs until the victim acts out and gets punished, sometimes severely, for battery on a law enforcement officer. The guard’s instigation goes unnoticed and, therefore, unreported. Expectations for solving these long-standing abuses range from “get it...

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Candidate Connection Page 2

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Good Children’s Bills Move Forward

This week marks the mid-way point of this year’s Session. Attention has shifted to appropriations with each chamber putting their spending plans on the table for all to see. Decisions and priorities are being driven by the push from the Governor’s office to achieve a billion-dollar tax cut and a redo of the revenue forecast. More coverage will be forthcoming. On the policy side, many good children’s bills continue to move forward: expunction of juvenile records, A Child’s Best Hope Act, expanding Early Steps, and KidCare for children of legally residing immigrants.   Bills that have lagged behind in getting out of the...

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Local, State Organizations Partner To Address School To Prison Pipeline

The Jacksonville-based Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center is working with the state’s Department of Juvenile Justice to prevent Florida girls from falling into the juvenile justice system. The DOJ has awarded the Center a grant to continue an in-school suspension and intervention program called “Girl Matters: It’s Elementary.” It is being piloted at two local schools for girls in kindergarten through fifth grade.

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Hillsborough hires expert to assess juvenile diversion program

TAMPA — Hillsborough County’s civil citation program is making progress in keeping first-time juvenile offenders out of court and detention facilities. Civil citations aim to prevent juveniles who commit certain misdemeanor offenses from being shackled with criminal records. Instead of going to court, the kids and their parents agree to complete the program, which includes restitution and various types of services for the family.

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Some grand jurors critical of own report hailing DCF improvements

Three years ago, a Miami grand jury wrote a scathing report suggesting that “utter failure” on the part of Florida’s child welfare agency resulted in the gruesome death of a 10-year-old twin, who had been tortured, starved and locked in a bathtub on and off for months. In the wake of another scandal, highlighted in a Miami Herald series titled Innocents Lost, a new grand jury revisited the Department of Children & Families’ performance: The result was a 30-page report DCF described in a news release as “highly complimentary” of the agency’s progress since 10-year-old Nubia Barahona’s battered body was...

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Once again, U.S. has most expensive, least effective health care system in survey

There are painful losing streaks that don’t really matter — say, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26-game disaster in 1976 and 1977 — and losing streaks that really mean something. This one means something. A report released Monday by a respected think tank ranks the United States dead last in the quality of its health-care system when compared with 10 other western, industrialized nations, the same spot it occupied in four previous studies by the same organization. Not only did the U.S. fail to move up between 2004 and 2014 — as other nations did with concerted effort and significant reforms...

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As the Number of Unvaccinated Americans Grows, Measles and Whooping Cough Make a Comeback

Doctors across the country are hearing more and more complaints about diseases we typically associate with history books or sudden, pixelated deaths on The Oregon Trail. Measles, a disease that was essentially eradicated in the United States in 2000, is spreading, with 288 cases representing 15 separate outbreaks reported nationwide just in the first five months of this year. That’s a 20-year high. Meanwhile, pertussis, or whooping cough, cases are up 24 percent over last year. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is pinning the blame on parents who won’t vaccinate their children. The United States eliminated measles in...

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How DCF kept 30 Child Deaths off the Books

At 2 a.m. on Dec. 13, 2013, a Riviera Beach mom woke up to find her newborn baby’s lips were purple. Blood and milk oozed from the girl’s nose. She had stopped breathing. The baby, authorities say, likely was accidentally smothered to death by her mother, who placed the girl in bed with her and three other children — a practice known as “co-sleeping” that can be lethal to infants. Child welfare investigators had been involved with the family four times before the infant’s death.

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