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Poppell Says DCF Takes Sex Abuse Claims Against Foster Parents Seriously After Backlash

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Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Chad Poppell is clarifying his statement about how the agency handles sex abuse claims against foster parents.

In a recent Senate hearing, Poppell said some children make false claims. In an interview with WFSU, Poppell says he was referring to the difficulty of verifying abuse claims.

“I cited the example…you did quote me accurately in your article. I was referring to teenagers. And so, much older children. And I think the chairwoman thought I was speaking about young children. I was not. So, I do want to make it very clear that we are not callous about these allegations. They are taken very seriously.”

The initial comment angered Senate Children and Families Chairwoman Lauren Book, who will be overseeing the chamber’s proposals on child welfare and on DCF.

The agency is trying to improve its child abuse investigation processes. It’s also grappling with ongoing employee turnover in critical positions.

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