TAMPA — Hillsborough County's new child protector introduced herself to Tampa today, pledging to review all active child dependency cases to ensure none have slipped through the cracks.
Prior to Lorita Shirley being named to lead child welfare services in Hillsborough County, she served as the executive director of Eckerd Community Alternatives, the lead child protection agency in Pinellas and Pasco counties. Eckerd replaces Hillsborough Kids Inc. on July 1. She appeared Tuesday at a news conference with David Wilkins, secretary of the state Department of Children and Families.
The change comes in the wake of nine deaths in the past two years of Hillsborough County children whose families were under state supervision.
Shirley started her child welfare career with the former Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, working in child abuse investigations and foster care. She also oversaw child welfare services for the DCF in Osceola County.