MIAMI (AP) — The Florida House has unanimously passed a sweeping bi-partisan bill seeking to overhaul the child welfare system by hiring new investigators and emphasizing child safety above family reunification.
The bill passed in a 117-0 vote Friday and comes as the Department of Children and Families has been under intense scrutiny in the wake of hundreds of child-abuse related deaths in the past five years.
The bill addresses everything from keeping siblings together in foster homes whenever possible to requiring DCF to post child death information online. One of the most important changes notes that safety plans can no longer rely on mere verbal promises from parents in order to keep their children.
The crux of the bill states that child safety should be placed above all else, including keeping a family together.