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Opioid Crisis Taking Its Toll On Florida Children

Nov 9, 2017

More than 4,000 babies were born addicted to opioids in Florida last year, an increase of over 1,000 percent from a decade ago.

Howard Webster’s third graders had “first-day jitters” on Sept. 18. But the first day of school had been nearly a month earlier.

Gateway Environmental K-8 Learning Center in Homestead was closed for seven school days because of Hurricane Irma, as were most other schools in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

“With the kids being out so long, it's like starting school all over again,” Webster said during an after-school event shortly after the storm.

Judge Ends Legal Battle Over Care For Disabled Children

Jun 13, 2017

With the state pointing to changes it has made, a federal judge Friday dismissed a long-running legal battle about whether Florida's Medicaid program provided proper services to children with severe medical conditions.

President Donald Trump’s plan to slash billions of dollars from Medicaid would hit small town America hardest, especially in Florida, according to a new Georgetown study.

The number of children taken into protective custody for mental health examinations has surged across the state.

Children who get health insurance through Medicaid go to the dentist about half as often as children in Florida who have private insurance, according to a new study out from the American Dental Association and the Health Policy Institute.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Kids Count: Health Measures Improve In FL

Jul 23, 2015

Florida is faring poorly on economic factors that influence child poverty, but key health indicators -- from low-birthweight babies to child health insurance rates and teens who abuse drugs and alcohol –  have improved, according to the latest Kids Count report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Kids Count: Economy Hurts FL Children

Jul 21, 2015

The latest Kids Count report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows that childhood poverty and family unemployment were major factors behind Florida's rank of 37th in the country for child well-being.

First Adoptive Community of its Kind in Florida

Jul 2, 2014
Yoselis Ramos / WUSF

There was a time when community meant more than cookie-cutter houses with manicured lawns. Children not only responded to parents but their neighbors too. A helpful neighbor was always just a phone call or a few yards away. Recreating that sense of community is the goal of one Tampa community for adoptive families.

New Life Village is a community for people - whether it's a single parent or an empty-nest couple - looking to adopt foster care children. Even older adults can be a part of the community as surrogate grandparents.

After an embarrassing article appeared in The Miami Herald in September, a regional supervisor for the Department of Children and Families ordered workers not to file required incident reports on the deaths of children who were supposed to be safeguarded by DCF, the Herald reports.

Scott Names New DCF Secretary

Apr 28, 2014

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is naming a new secretary for the state's embattled child welfare agency. 

Scott on a Monday will announce that Mike Carroll has been appointed to take over the Department of Children and Families. Scott will make the announcement during a visit with child protective investigators in Jacksonville.

Carroll takes over for interim secretary Esther Jacobo. Jacobo has been in charge of the agency since last July's abrupt resignation of David Wilkins. Her last day is Friday.

Child Welfare Bill Draws Calls for ‘Moral Outrage’ --- and More Funding

Apr 3, 2014

A Florida Senate panel on Wednesday approved a sweeping child-welfare reform bill amid calls from foster parents to help more children and pleas from providers to fund the changes properly.

The Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee voted 12-1 to approve a measure (SB 1666) that collapses three bills (SB 1666, 1668 and 1670) into one. It would make a series of changes to the Florida Department of Children and Families and the community-based care agencies that provide adoption and foster care services to children in the state system.

As Outrage Grows over Child Deaths, Lawmakers Talk Money

Mar 19, 2014

Legislative leaders are responding to public outrage over a series of child deaths in Florida last year --- and not just in the policy arena. They're also talking about spending more money on the state's troubled child-welfare system.

Committees have been studying the deaths since September and have come up with complex legislation touching a dozen different concerns, from improved safety planning to expanded death reviews to keeping siblings together and medically fragile children in their communities.

Sammy Mack / StateImpact Florida

Florida’s legislative session is months away, but educators and politicians are already talking about making early childhood education a priority.

 

“Early childhood is viewed as childcare, and not early childhood education, which it really is,” says Dr. Susan Neimand, director of the School of Education at Miami Dade College, which runs a nationally recognized early learning center called Education Station.

“We know that the brain starts developing from the time the child is in the womb—and the proper attention for that is not given,” says Neimand.

iStockphoto.com

To pediatricians, guns are a health issue.

Firearms remain a leading cause of death and injury for young people. The doctors say the evidence shows that homes are safer for kids, and adults for that matter, when guns aren't around.

Did 2-Year-Old Boy Have to Die?

Jul 15, 2013

When Biannela Susana first gave birth, she was a child herself; by the time she was 25 she had four children. Now she has none, and is in Duval County jail awaiting sentencing for manslaughter in the death of her 2-year-old son -- even though she wasn’t the one who killed him. The Tampa Bay Times reports the story of an unfolding tragedy.

A Sarasota County woman accused of killing her autistic stepdaughter will not face the death penalty, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports. The prosecution said in court hearings Tuesday it will not seek the death penalty in the case against Melissa Stoddard, who is accused of repeatedly tying the girl down to a board and gagging her. She has plead not guilty and could face life in prison.

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Some things turn us to mush every time: Cute animals. Sappy Publix commercials. And most of all, surprise military reunions.

Nine-year-old Alayna Adams was chosen to throw out the first pitch at Thursday night's Rays game. What the Dunedin girl didn't know was that the catcher wasn't a pro ball player. It was her dad, Lt. Col. Will Adams, just home from Afghanistan.

After Alayna threw the ball, her father caught it. Then he lifted his catcher's mask. Alayna raced toward him and leaped into his arms.

And yes, the crowd went wild.

Courtesy of Coyne Public Relations

Helping vacationers decide between Space Mountain and Splash Mountain. Sharing the pros and cons of a Disney cruise. Offering tips for running a Disney Marathon.

Nice work if you can get it... and St. Petersburg resident Wilma Norton did get it, beating out thousands of hopefuls to become part of the 2013 Disney Parks Moms Panel.

The group of 19 moms -- and a few dads -- answer questions in an online forum to help folks from around the world plan their Disney vacation.

Norton, who is married with two daughters, has lost count of how many times the family has visited Walt Disney World, so she's well versed in all things magical. The only compensation she gets is a Disney getaway for her family. But as Norton told WUSF, for her, the experience of helping others plan their trip is priceless.