Press Release

State of Florida
Department of Children and Families
Rick Scott

David E. Wilkins

April 11, 2011
MEDIA CONTACT: DCF Communications
(850) 488-4855

DCF Honored for Children´s Advocacy
~DCF´s Mary Cagle, Director of Children’s Legal Services, to Receive Award~

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. – In recognition of outstanding leadership in child services, Mary Cagle, the Department of Children and Families´ (DCF) Director of Children´s Legal Services, will be honored with the 2011 Policy Advocate Award presented by Lawyers for Children America at a luncheon in Miami on May 20.

"I gratefully accept this award and would like to recognize our entire legal staff for their dedication to guarding the best interest of our children," Cagle said. "Helping children and families has been the focus of my legal career, and our Department takes ownership when it comes to fighting in court for the future of children."

Cagle will be honored for transforming the office´s policies to advocate for the needs of dependent children. Last year the department custom-built a mobile application for BlackBerries that allows CLS attorneys to update and access files from the courtroom. Under Cagle´s leadership, CLS implemented a legal quality assurance program, enhanced attorneys´ training and professional development opportunities, provided additional legal resources and tools, and strengthened attorney recruitment and retention efforts.

"The legal piece of the child welfare process has a dramatic impact on the safety and well-being of children in our foster care system," DCF Secretary David Wilkins said. "Our legal team is passionate and energized under Mary´s leadership and I am proud of their accomplishments. Mary is a true child advocate and shining star in our Department."

Before joining the Department in 2007, Cagle was Chief Executive Officer for CHARLEE Homes for Children, a full case management agency in Miami. Prior to that, Cagle had a 22-year career with the Miami-Dade State Attorney´s Office, serving as Chief of the Public Corruption Unit under Janet Reno and as Chief Assistant under Katherine Fernandez Rundle.

Cagle holds a Juris Doctorate from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan, and a bachelor's degree in History from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Children’s Legal Services is the Department´s law firm representing the state in child welfare matters. For more information about services offered by DCF, visit