Gov. Rick Scott signs bill to overhaul child welfare

Bill would help hire 270 child protective investigators

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Gov. Rick Scott has signed a sweeping bill aimed at overhauling the child-welfare system after hundreds of child abuse-related deaths in the past five years.

Scott said Monday the bill will help hire 270 child protective investigators to reduce caseloads. The law also establishes a response team to quickly investigate child abuse deaths when the child had previous incidents with the system.

The new law comes on the heels of a scathing series from the Miami Herald, which highlighted the deaths of 477 children involved with the department in the past five years.

A report released last fall reviewing 40 child deaths revealed that welfare authorities overlooked danger signs, such as parental drug abuse or domestic violence. Most children who died were younger than 5.

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