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DCF Regional Leader Steps Down

The Florida Department of Children and Families lost one of its six regional managing directors Wednesday night, when David Abramowitz resigned from his post overseeing child-welfare services in 20 counties in Northeast and North Central Florida.

"After almost 4 years as the DCF director, I have decided it is time to offer my resignation," Abramowitz, a retired Army colonel, emailed to department Secretary Mike Carroll. "I have the deepest respect for our employees and the difficult challenges they handle each day to improve the lives of this state's children and families."

He did not give a reason for his resignation, which was effective immediately.

"We appreciate Dave's service to the department," Carroll said in a statement.

Carroll appointed longtime DCF employee Pattie Medlock as interim regional managing director.

An anonymous complaint was filed against Abramowitz last year with the state Office of Inspector General, alleging that he created a hostile work environment and made remarks insulting to women and blacks, calling DCF employees "hoochie mamas" and "hoes" and nicknaming them after popular rap artists. Defenders claimed it was just Abramowitz's salty way of talking after 30 years in the military. He was cleared of the allegation.

DCF spokeswoman Alexis Lambert said Abramowitz had completed additional training recommended by the inspector general before stepping down.

One of the highest-profile cases during Abramowitz's tenure involved Don Spirit, a Gilchrist County man who murdered his daughter and six grandchildren before committing suicide almost exactly a year ago.

According to the department, the family was involved in 18 child-protective investigations in the eight years preceding the murders. Spirit was involved in six of the investigations and was alleged to be the perpetrator in three of the cases.

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