An early-year spotlighting of Florida’s domestic violence services

| Jun 10, 2021 | Domestic Violence

Domestic abuse in Florida – as everywhere else across the country – is an immediately sobering topic.

Sadly, news stories surrounding family violence often feature downsides marked by adverse outcomes more than they do silver linings.

A recent report from the Tampa Bay Times alters that tendency in a partially welcome way, though. On the one hand, it does convey some serious information concerning what has unquestionably been troublesome performance in state-delivered domestic abuse services. On the other hand, though, it underscores a candid recognition of the problem and the outlining of meaningful steps to move forward in a vitally important sphere.

“I’m able to tell you,” says a top official with the Florida Department of Children and Families, “that we’re up and running and in good shape.”

That certainly wasn’t the case last year, when it became apparent that the DCF was exercising subpar supervision of the nonprofit agency with contractual control over Florida’s 40-plus violence shelters.

The above-cited Times story notes revelations that the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence systematically “misused state and federal funds and paid its executive director more than $7.5 million over three years.”

That realization brought swift reaction, commencing with a court-ordered dissolution of the coalition. That was followed by multiple lawsuits against the agency and continuing efforts to claw back ill-gotten gains and properly apply them to victims’ needs.

The DCF is now in charge of all state domestic violence programs, which collectively serve more than 1,000 shelter residents. Florida regulators will soon conduct a formal search for a new agency to oversee the critically important sphere.

Family violence is understandably a topic of top-tier importance. An authoritative Florida legal source duly notes that, “If you are a victim of domestic violence, it is important to seek legal help as soon as possible.”

Proven and empathetic family law attorneys stand ready to offer compassionate counsel and diligent advocacy to any individual who needs protection and a lasting solution against violence.