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Today the national child-protection organization Having Kids called upon Florida Governor-elect Ron DeSantis to adopt a policy of preventing child abusers from having additional children. Together we can end child abuse.

Read the full letter here.

On August 19, 2018, the 4-year daughter of Jacqui Lyne Carter was brought into an emergency room in Jacksonville with severe head trauma. While the child’s mother Carter, told investigators that her daughter had simply hit her head from moving around excitedly in a bouncy chair, a medical examination showed a very different story. A CAT scan revealed multiple skull fractures as well as multiple brain bleeds. Medical reports from the hospital revealed that this young child had both “old and new skull fractures.” This type of skull fracture and brain damage was not from an accidental “bump,” but clearly “indicative of a blow to her head with force.” Even more horrifying, exams revealed not one, but two fractures, indicating at least two separate forceful blows to the girl’s head.

In 2016 alone, Florida Department of Children and Families received more than 225,000 referrals for child abuse and neglect. Even more alarming, there were a staggering 126 fatalities from child abuse and neglect in Florida in 2017 – twice as high as the national average. Florida’s child maltreatment reporting rate has consistently exceeded the national average and Florida is in the top 10 states in the nation for reporting by calculating children investigated per 1,000 children in the general population. In fact, per a study by the SAS Institute that followed a 2005 birth cohort for 10 years, approximately one in every five children born in Florida in 2005 were reported at least once to the child welfare system within 60 months from birth. Florida’s child population has increased by 1.8% from 4,031,098 in 2007 to 4,105,129 in 2015 compared to a 0.5% decrease in the United States’ child population. Florida’s poverty rate for 2015 was 2% higher than the comparable national average.

Having Kids is urging DeSantis to develop policies, and encourage legislation, that enables judges to issue Fair Start Orders. This would allow courts, at the judge’s discretion, to issue an order to prevent offenders in the most egregious child abuse and neglect cases from having children for a limited time period as a condition of his or her probation. Having Kids Executive Director Erika Mathews said this: “We offer child-first Fair Start family planning as a way to actually protect children, by preventing child abuse at the source – poor family planning.” “If we want a better world, we have to start thinking ahead.”

Tweet him at @RonDeSantisFL and ask him to pursue Fair Start policies. 


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