Department of Children and Families

  Today on “First Coast Connect,” we spoke about child safety with Patricia Medlock (01:05), the area director of the Department of Children and Families. We spoke with Patrick Lane, full-time agent for Aira, his father Peter, who is blind and hosts the podcast “Blind Abilities,” and Al Avina (20:06), Executive Director of the Blinded Veterans Association, which is holding its convention later this month in Jacksonville. We rebroadcast an interview with author Cindy Landham (31:27), and musicians Madison Carr and Lenn Johnson (41:13) joined us and performed live in-studio with a preview of their upcoming Jacksonville show “Imagine John Lennon.”  


    

teddy bear on chair
Walt Stoneburner / Flickr Creative Commons

Changes to Florida’s child-welfare system, sponsored by Rep. Cyndi Stevenson (R-St. Augustine), are finally law after two years of debate in Tallahassee.

Stevenson said her 100-page measure gives investigators more power to keep kids safe.


gay pride flag
Ted Eytan / Flickr

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Department of Children and Families is under fire for backing off of part a proposal that would protect LGBT kids who live in group homes from discrimination — including so-called "conversion therapy" aimed at changing their sexual orientation.

Depression can be a clear indication that bullying is taking place
Florida Department of Children and Families

Last week, lawmakers reviewed Florida's progress toward helping child victims of sex trafficking, as a 2014 law starts to yield more information about victims.

The House Children, Families and Seniors Subcommittee heard presentations from state officials about the law, which made a wide range of changes to try to curb sex trafficking. That included creating a new screening system, which was rolled out in April, to better identify and serve sexually exploited children.

Florida Department of Education

The State Board of Education decided Wednesday to once again ask lawmakers for record per-student funding for public schools — with the lion's share of the increase coming from local taxpayers.

Board members unanimously approved a budget request of nearly $20.2 billion for the main funding formula for public elementary and secondary schools in the fiscal year that begins next July 1. That would set a new benchmark for total funding, up from this year's $19.7 billion, as well as marking the highest per-student amount in state history.