A Miami-Dade grand jury accused state child welfare administrators Tuesday of "intentionally and deliberately" manipulating the investigation of child deaths due to abuse and neglect -- making it appear that fewer children were dying across the state.
In a 30-page report that explores whether the Department of Children & Families has improved since the gripping 2011 death of 10-year-old Nubia Barahona, grand jurors found much that pleased them. But they also scolded the agency for what they described as a systematic attempt to conceal the true number of children whose lives are cut short by abuse or neglect.
"I thank the members of the grand jury for their comprehensive look at Florida's child welfare system," said Mike Carroll, the agency's interim secretary. "It is clear from their thoughtful recommendations that they understand the challenges in the work we do, and it's also clear they recognize our commitment to continuing to improve so we can better protect Florida's children."