Lawson Lamar, the State Attorney in the Ninth Judicial Circuit (Orlando) penned a compelling Letter to the Editor that was published in the Orlando Sentinel on April 3, 2011.
In his letter, he raised a little-known fact (at least to most of the general public): Law enforcement in Florida has a behind-the-scenes, crime-fighting partner that is essentially invisible to anyone outside of the child-welfare system. They are known as child-protection teams.
Child-protection teams are medically directed, multidisciplinary teams with expertise, training and experience in child development and maltreatment. They help the Department of Children and Families and law enforcement assess allegations of abuse, which means they also help disprove cases at times. In addition, they provide expert assessments and recommendations in cases of confirmed abuse.
Yet this valuable resource is facing funding cuts of over 2.5 million dollars in next year’s Florida Budget because the state funds earmarked for the program were moved into “nonrecurring” status last year. They’ll be gone next year unless the legislature acts to restore the funding.
A link to his Letter to the Editor is here. And in it, Mr. Lamar says it best: “Defenseless children who cannot yet vote cry out for our support and protection.” Contact your representatives and demand they preserve funding of Florida’s legislatively mandated child-protection teams at current levels.