Tallahassee, FL — Startling news has emerged about Florida’s treatment of vulnerable children, while newspapers are calling Rick Scott “silent and absent.” On Monday, after 11 months of inaction, the Department of Justice sued Florida for “warehousing” disabled children in nursing homes. Meanwhile, turmoil at the Department of Children and Families continues in the wake of the tragic deaths of five children. In each of these cases, Rick Scott’s leadership and judgement appear to have been non-existant.
Rick Scott’s administration was informed by DOJ nearly a year ago that warehousing 200 children with medical disabilities in nursing homes violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. But Rick Scott and his administration sat on their hands, denying many children with disabilities the chance to live with their families and friends.
“As the mother of a child with special needs, I find Rick Scott’s total lack of interest in helping our state’s most vulnerable childen particularly offensive,” said FDP Chair Allison Tant. “By now, we should not be surprised that while Rick Scott and his allies pretend nothing is wrong, he is failing Florida’s families. There’s no doubt now that Rick Scott is running Florida government just as recklessly as he ran his business, and Florida’s children are being neglected as a result. Where is the leadership?”
How detached from the reality facing Florida’s vulnerable children is Rick Scott? Upon the resignation last week of DCF chief David Wilkins after weeks of outcry over the deaths of four children, Rick Scott said, “David did a great job.” Meanwhile, Jane Johnson, the new chief of staff at DCF and a former high-ranking aide to Governor Scott, dismissed these tragedies by saying, “When a child dies, it’s not because DCF dropped the ball. It’s because their families failed to protect them.”
This is failure of leadership.
The Tampa Bay Times writes, “Florida needs a hands-on chief executive, not one who is more comfortable flying around in his private jet to take credit for every new job and stage more fake bill signings for legislation that he signed into law weeks ago.” Floridians deserve a governor who is a leader — who will lead state government to care for all Floridians, especially vulnerable children.