What Comes to Mind When You Think of Child Abuse?

Published in the Lake Sentinel on April 6th. By Gail Burry When people think of child abuse what comes to mind first?  Bruises?  Broken arms?  Or Worse?  Of course, all of these instances are forms of child abuse, but they’re not what make up the majority of cases in today’s society.  Unlike what may come …

End Kids’ Tears: Plant a Pinwheel

The Florida Child Abuse hotline received 12,354 reports of child abuse in Circuit 5 during 2013. Over 4,000 children were verified victims of child abuse, neglect, and abandonment in Circuit 5 – Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion and Sumter Counties during 2013. Typically, child abuse and domestic violence occur behind closed doors making it a social ill …

The Loss of an Infant

The death of a child is tragic. The death of an infant in a preventable accident is even more tragic.  Marion County has suffered another accidental suffocation death. According to, a family member was holding the baby on her chest and fell asleep. During the night she rolled over on the baby and the …

Back to Basics for DCF

Why The Three Rs Will Not Work: By John Cooper, CEO Historically and predictably, horrific tragedies have forced the Department of Children and Families (DCF) leadership to consistently rush to “Review, React, and Reform.”  These periods of appeasing accelerated changes typically fail to produce the desired long- term results.   One of the challenges; the Department …

What happens to the kids?

When parents are unable, unwilling, or unavailable to care for their children, what happens to the kids? Most of the time, a relative steps up to the plate and assumes responsibility. The complex interwoven systems – legal, medical, educational- are already difficult to navigate with your own children, but try it as a relative caregiver. …