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It's time for children's safety to be a priority in Tallahassee

Published Jan. 13, 2015

Florida is failing its kids, and I don't think a single elected official in Tallahassee cares.

From the moment we learned Phoebe Jonchuck's father tossed her to her death from the Dick Misener Bridge, we knew word would come to light that the Department of Children and Families received warnings.

Our leaders claim to care but they have allowed DCF to be a broken agency for too long. No more excuses and explanations.

Show us you care. Go to DCF secretary Mike Carroll and give him whatever he needs to fix the agency. More staff? Higher pay? More training? Give it to him.

If he doesn't show significant progress in four years, fire him and try again, because the head of DCF should be held to a higher standard than a football coach.

Show us you care. Be innovative with your legislative proposals. Maybe we require parents to earn a certification, because moms and dads should be held to a higher standard than nail technicians.

Show us you care. Seek solutions, even if it involves removing more kids or creating more shelters. Turn over every stone.

Show us you care. Don't tell us we can't afford it. We just watched the gubernatorial candidates spend a combined $104 million on commercials no one wanted to see.

Show us you care, Gov. Scott. Donate some of your own money. Challenge cabinet members and legislators to follow your lead or hide in shame. Find the funding.

Show us you care. Make this the top priority. Start fighting for our most vulnerable.

Show us you care, because as a society, we're defined by how we care for our kids.

Show us you care, or resign and let someone who actually cares lead. Do it for Phoebe.

That's all I'm saying.