Department of Children and Families Creates Task Force on Child Protection
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. - Department of Children and Families Secretary Bob Butterworth announced today the formation of the Task Force on Child Protection. This task force will scrutinize issues within the state's child protection system brought to light during recent media coverage of the Courtney Clark protective services case. The 13 member panel has been directed to identify concerns and make recommendations, including suggestions regarding legislative enhancements, to improve coordination, communication, current policies and procedures, and training efforts for all parties involved in protecting and locating children in Florida's dependency system.
"The Courtney Clark case revealed significant failures in our system of child protection and these errors are inexcusable," said Butterworth. "Ultimately, this Department is responsible for the safety of Florida's most vulnerable children and we cannot - and will not - fail in our duty to protect them."
The following Floridians, known for their work in the state's criminal justice and child welfare systems, have been asked to serve on the Task Force:
Butterworth has asked Task Force Chairman, Barry Krisher to conduct his first meeting no later than July 27, 2007. He has also asked that the Task Force provide him with a preliminary report by October 1, 2007.
- State Attorney Barry Krischer, Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, Chairman
- Judge David M. Gooding, Fourth Judicial Circuit
- Major Connie Shingledecker, Manatee County Sheriff's Office
- Donna Uzzell, Director of Criminal Justice Information Services, Florida Department of Law Enforcement
- Glen Casel, Executive Director, Community-Based Care of Seminole, Inc.
- Tana Ebbole, Children Services Council, Palm Beach County
- Adam M. Goldstein, Board of Trustees, Our Kids of Miami-Dade/Monroe, Inc.
- Jim Kallinger, Chief Child Advocate, Office of the Governor
- Richard Komando, Program Director, Guardian Ad Litem, Fourth Judicial Circuit
- Devan Coffman, Youth Advisory Board President, Children and Families District 1
- Rochelle Hooke, Florida Youth Shine Representative
- Patricia Badland, Director, Department of Children and Families Family Service Program
- Alan Abramowitz, Circuit Administrator, Department of Children and Families
Additionally, Butterworth has established specific positions within the department - a Director of Criminal Justice Services and five regional Child Location Specialists - to strengthen the Department's efforts to locate missing children and to enhance the Department's relationships with other elements of the criminal justice system.
The Director of Criminal Justice Services will supervise the Department headquarters Child Location Unit and serve as the lead contact for the Department in matters relating to law enforcement, corrections, juvenile justice and the courts. The Director of Criminal Justice Services will report to Assistant Secretary of Operations George Sheldon.
The regional Child Location Specialists will report to Department Regional Directors and will be primarily responsible for enhancing the coordination and communication on missing children issues within the state's criminal justice system, particularly at the local level, in concert with Florida's community-based care providers.