The manatees seem to be saying “Florida, we are watching. Families matter more than spending cuts, children more than the approval of the Koch Brothers.”
TALLAHASSEE — In the wake of a bloody year for Florida youngsters, lawmakers have pledged to repair the state’s frayed safety net for abused and neglected children.
The Herald investigation found that two-thirds of the 477 child deaths involved drug abuse or mental illness. Neither the governor nor legislators have proposed any significant increases in funding for a host of services designed to help unfit parents, such as drug treatment, mental health counseling, domestic violence services or anger management classes.
Kelly laments that this comes after $7.9 million was cut from the budgets of the local community-base-care organizations in recent years. “We have less money today than we had in 2007 and now we’re talking about putting more kids in the system,” he said.
The House and Senate priorities include $500 million in tax and fee reductions, as well as hundreds of millions earmarked for optional hometown projects sought by individual legislators.
The projects are in dozens of counties, all of them home to a child who died because of abuse or neglect in the past six years, according to the Herald investigation.
In Pinellas County, where the Herald found 15 children died in the past six years, legislators have included $24 million worth of one-time projects, such as a $4 million for the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. And in Hillsborough County, where 34 children died, lawmakers are proposing $5.4 million in new projects, such as $2 million for the Tampa Jewish Community Center.
In Miami-Dade County, where the Herald found 25 children previously known to DCF who had died from abuse and neglect, legislators are proposing at least $35 million in discretionary local projects. Among the proposals: $10 million for the SkyRise observation tower in downtown Miami and $1 million for the South Florida Military Museum.
You just know there has to be some hope for Florida when the state has papers like the Herald and the Tampa Bay Times. (I’m not saying other news sources there are failing. I’m just pointing out that these two have done some great stuff.)
Red States Blues playing loudly this year.
Florida legislatures have to win some award for embarrassing anyone who thinks they are public servants.
Click on link embedded in title above for full original report.
And look who’s still smarter than a tax cutting, family endangering Florida government official.
Top Image clipped using Windows Snipping tool and used via Creative Commons License Attribution (CC by 2.0) thanks to USFWS/Southeast at flickr.com w no connection to this blogger.
Bottom image clipped using Windows Snipping tool and used via Creative Commons License Attribution (CC by 2.0) thanks to flickr user Daniel Oynes who has no connection to this blog or blogger.
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