State of Florida
Department of Children and Families
Charlie Crist
Governor

Robert A. Butterworth
Secretary


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Contact: Al Zimmerman
March 27, 2007 850-488-4855

STATEMENT BY DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES SECRETARY BOB BUTTERWORTH


Regarding the Department's Action Plan for Protective Investigations


"Under the leadership of Governor Charlie Crist, the Department of Children and Families has evaluated the Department's policies and procedures to identify areas of improvement. I'm pleased to announce that through assessment and creative thinking we have identified six key actions to implement statewide to improve our efforts to protect vulnerable children and families."

"I have ordered the following: a thorough review of casework for families with multiple referrals to Florida's Abuse Hotline to ensure proper actions and precautions have been taken for the safety of the individuals involved; the establishment of mandatory requirements for staff members assigned to review protective investigator's casework for weaknesses; both district and regional level training programs be strengthened for investigators and supervisors so they can further develop their investigative skills; the implementation of a pilot system that requires investigators to follow up with families who've been referred to services to see if recommendations were followed or if more assistance is needed; and, finally, that the we reinstitute the Annual Dependency Improvement Summit, coordinated by the Department and other child welfare advocates, to bring child welfare professionals and advocates together to increase communication and encourage more creative solutions."

"I'm confident these actions will help the families we serve by increasing accountability within our system and providing protective investigators with the additional skills and resources needed to protect and provide for Florida's most vulnerable citizens. By taking these actions now, we can ensure that if mistakes are made, we'll have a system in place to catch them."


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