Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday signed “Jordan’s Law,” a bill aimed at training more people to recognize child head trauma and improve communication between child welfare agencies and law enforcement.
It’s named after Jordan Belliveau, a 2-year-old Largo child who died in 2018 from head trauma inflicted by his mother, authorities say. A Florida Department of Children and Families review pointed to missteps by child welfare agencies, child protective investigators and others before the child was killed.
“Jordan’s Law” was sponsored by State Rep. Chris Latvala, R-Clearwater. The new law will require new training for caseworkers, law enforcement officers and parents to recognize head trauma in children under 6.
Brain injury is a leading cause of death in children, said Dr. Jim Lewis, a neuropsychologist who helped draft the law.
“The systematic failures that led to Jordan Belliveau’s death are inexcusable and I believe this bill addresses those failure,” Latvala said in a statement.
Case manager loads will also be slashed from 30 cases to 15 whenever possible. And communication between child welfare agencies and law enforcement agencies will be strengthened.
For example, law enforcement officers will now be able to see if a person is the subject of a child abuse investigation when they look up their name via the Florida Crime Information Center. Officers will also be required to immediately report any concerns about a child’s health or safety to the central child abuse hotline.
Jordan died in September 2018 just four months after being reunited with his mother, Charisse Stinson. He had spent more than a year in foster care. The state review found that child welfare workers missed warning signs before his death, failed to make home visits and did nothing when the mother lied in court about completing mandatory counseling classes to get her son back.
His death came to light when she reported her son missing. But after his body was found, Largo police said the mother fabricated the story of his disappearance and violently abused him.
Now 23, the mother is being held without bail in the Pinellas County jail, awaiting trial for first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and giving false information to a law enforcement officer.