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Top execs leave DCF as agency feels heat

FORT LAUDERDALE — Several Department of Children and Families executives have resigned as the agency comes under rising scrutiny following the grisly killing of a 10-year-old adoptive girl.

On Friday, Secretary David Wilkins accepted the resignation of Walter Cook, who led the agency's abuse hotline, which has been criticized for screening out calls that should have been investigated.

A report that a 10-year-old girl and her twin brother were being bound hand and foot and locked in a bathroom should have had an immediate response, but was flagged as a 24-hour response call.

Police said the girl was killed soon after that call. Her adoptive parents are charged.

Wilkins also accepted the resignations of chief of staff Jason Dimitris and assistant secretary of programs David Fairbanks.It is common for agency leaders to submit resignations under a new governor.

Wilkins signaled changes soon for the hotline and announced plans to "redefine" child protective investigators.

Family reunification and family accountability "will be new themes you will hear much more about in the upcoming weeks," Wilkins said.

The agency has reduced the number of children in foster care in recent years and instead offered prevention services to families keeping the kids at home. But follow-through has been a weak spot.

Top execs leave DCF as agency feels heat 03/08/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 8, 2011 8:55pm]

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