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Gov. Scott Announces New Interim DCF Secretary In Jacksonville

Rhema Thompson

A long-time veteran of Florida’s embattled Department of Children and Families will be taking the reins, at least for the time being.Governor Rick Scott announced Monday that Mike Carroll will serve as the agency’s new interim secretary.

Scott was in Jacksonville at the agency’s northeast regional office to discuss the appointment, along with his proposal for  $40 million in funding toward child protective services.

Carroll will replace Esther Jacobo who took charge of the agency last July following after former secretary David Wilkins resigned abruptly.

Credit Children's Board of Hillsborough County
Mike Carroll

Recently, the agency has come under scrutiny for the number of children who have died under its watch.

Friday, Scott credited Jacobo with helping to overhaul the troubled agency. Since taking over, more than 1,000 child welfare workers have undergone new training, he said.

Jacobo will leave the agency Friday to serve as chief of staff at the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office.

“We are going to miss her, but she has inspired me,” Carroll said.

Carroll has served with the department for about 24 years. Most recently, he oversaw the 11 counties spanning from Pasco to Collier as the agency’s SunCoast Regional Director.

“When I say I am honored and humbled to be given this opportunity to lead this great can believe it,” he said.

During the press conference, Scott also detailed his funding proposal to add about 400 more child protective investigators to the agency.
“It’s a total of $31 million for child protective investigators and $8 million to work with our sheriffs,” Scott said.

The governor, however, did not provide details on why the agency has yet to appoint a permanent secretary.

“We’re going through the process of making sure, but Mike’s going to do a great job. We’re excited about working with him,” he said.

You can follow Rhema Thompson on Twitter @RhemaThompson

Rhema Thompson began her post at WJCT on a very cold day in January 2014 and left WJCT to join the team at The Florida Times Union in December 2014.