South Florida Democrats fired a stinging rebuke at Gov. Rick Scott (R) Thursday, holding him responsible for the deaths of 40 children who were known to state child welfare workers when they died during the first half of 2013.
“Clearly, your idealogical agenda of smaller government and less regulation doesn’t always neatly fit with the priority of child protection, which has resulted in heartbreaking outcomes for too many Florida children,” wrote Rep. Perry Thurston (D-Fort Lauderdale), leader of the House Democratic Caucus.
Later, Thurston appeared at a press conference with Rep. Elaine Schwartz (D-Hollywood) and Barbara Watson (D-Miami Gardens) to lambast Scott over DCF’s failures. The trio held Christmas presents that symbolized children who died on DCF’s watch this year, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, and spoke specifically of three children whose controversial cases were the subject of brutal investigative reports by the Miami Herald:
- Two-year-old Ezra Raphael was whipped to death with a belt several months after being returned to his mother, a North Miami Beach prostitute and drug user. According to a Miami Herald report, though the caseworker had labeled the boy at “high” risk, she closed the case and did not prevent the boy being taken from his caregiver’s home by his mother.