Florida’s Shame

Well the Christmas season is upon us here in sunny Florida and another year will rapidly be coming to a close.  I will be turning 80 next year and the sun is definitely lower on the horizon now.

Here in Florida our governor Ronnie D is trying his best to be the successor to and head of Trump’s fascist party.  Of course if he gets anywhere near the nomination Trump will attack him as “little Ronnie.”  He does that to all his synchophants who forget their place.

Governor Ronnie has spent the year making sure we all stay free of mask and vaccine mandates.  Sensible that I am, I mask up when shopping for groceries.  And quite frankly, if hospitalized for any reason I would demand I be treated by vaccinated staff.  And I’m sure I would get it.

And of course he has spent lots of time making it more difficult to vote.

Florida is busy preparing restrictive abortion legislation in the event Roe is overturned in spite of a 2 or 1 popular majority in favor of maintaining Roe.  Im hoping all of you fine Republican women wind up bare foot, pregnant and mopping floors.

Don’t blame me.  I voted for Hillary.

So what isn’t Florida doing?  What doesn’t Governor Ronnie give a rat’s ass bout? Let’s take a peek at the foster care system in Florida.

Once upon a time the state government was responsible for removing children from unsuitable environments and returning them after assistance to the family or finding foster homes for each, either with relatives or approved foster parents.

Awhile back the state in its wisdom decided to contract out the placement of children to “child welfare agencies.”  Why?  Probably because it was cheaper.  At the same time it allowed those government employees to concentrate on handling more cases.

The counties of Hillsborough (Tampa) , Pinellas (St. Pete) and Pasco account for more removed children than any other area of the state.  I live in Pasco.  Kids are removed for physical of sexual abuse, drugs, alcoholism, mental illness ect.

The contractor responsible for caring for these dependent children in these counties was Eckerd Connects.

Eckerd Connects, the company that was hired to provide foster care services throughout Florida, is now under criminal investigation for what one Tampa Bay sheriff calls child abuse and neglect.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri announced his agency’s criminal investigation into the embattled foster care services company on Thursday afternoon. He said the investigation stems from the sheriff’s office finding out last week that Eckerd was having kids live at their administrative offices in Largo.

According to Gualtieri, the children were removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect and should have been placed in the care of a family member or in foster care. But Eckerd, he said, has about 60 to 70 children on a “night-to-night” status, meaning they don’t have housing and are moved to different places each night.

“Some of the kids Eckerd cannot place at all, even in some of these ‘night-to-night’ locations, are housed at their administrative offices,” the sheriff said. “The best information we have is, on average, they’re housing about six kids a night in those offices.”

Gualtieri said the kids sleep in dirty clothes on cots or under desks, and don’t have access to toiletries, towels or hot meals.

“The conditions in which these children have been living at Eckerd’s offices, frankly, is disgusting and deplorable,” he said. “The conditions are as bad or worse than the living conditions from which the children were removed.”

According to Gualtieri, the Largo Police Department has responded to the administrative offices about 30 times in the past month because the children living there are disruptive, causing problems with staff members and running away from the offices. He also described instances of the

“Think about this situation for a minute. We have kids who are sadly abused and neglected by their parents. We remove the children because the environment they’re living in is so bad that it’s too dangerous to leave them in their own homes with their moms and their dad or caregivers,” Gualtieri said. “We turn these kids over to the organization that receives tens of millions of dollars in state money and is supposed to be a safe place… and that organization houses them in deplorable,

“I believe the situation created by Eckerd constitutes child abuse and neglect,” Gualtieri said. “A corporate entity can be charged with a crime. And Eckerd as an entity and senior management individually are the subjects of our investigation… but the scope of this investigation may expand as we move forward.”

Further investigation revealed kids sleeping in cars in the parking lots of all night burgher joints so they could eat and use the toilets.

Think that might bring a word from the Governor?  Maybe move solving the situation to a top priority?  Nah.  Not a peep.

Meanwhile Eckerd has been fired by the counties involved (it still works in Jacksonville under contract) and Tampa, St. Pete and Pasco are scrambling for a new contractor to pawn the kids off to.

How about the state assuming its former responsibility by taking over these duties itself?

caring for lost kids should not be handed over to a “non-profit” whose CEO paid himself $237,500 last year.  Its what happens when you have governors like DeSantis and Scott who don’t give a rat’s ass about such things.  Scott should have been imprisoned for Medicare fraud.

Instead he’s in the Senate.


About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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4 Responses to Florida’s Shame

  1. beetleypete says:

    I can only imagine the frustration, Frank. I think I would have to move to a blue state to calm down. I will be 70 soon, in 2022. Not 80, so I appreciate the difference. But despite that 10 years, we have exactly the same fears and staunch opinions.
    Take care, my valued friend.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Memarge says:

    My youngest daughter, her husband, and 3 boys live in northeastern Kansas. When I was there in May for an extended visit, I was lulled in to thinking the hubster and I could move there to live near them. Thank God the hubster chose we’d be fine here in Central USA. I don’t want to live in a state where a dictatorship flourishes.

    Liked by 2 people

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