After Deaths of Four Children, Florida Welfare Director Resigns


David Wilkins, Florida's top child welfare and social services administrator, resigned Thursday amid an escalating scandal over the recent deaths of four small children who had a history of involvement with child-abuse investigators, reports the Miami Herald. Wilkins is leaving the agency to “pursue opportunities in the private sector and to provide more attention” to a foundation he leads, Gov. Rick Scott said in a statement.

Wilkins has served as secretary of the Department of Children & Families since Scott's inauguration in 2011. But in recent months, he became mired in a simmering controversy over the deaths of four youngsters in a six-week period, all but one from Miami-Dade and Broward counties. A fifth child, also from Miami, nearly died from a lacerated liver after the agency failed to act when the infant suffered a broken thigh bone months earlier. The welfare agency's top Miami administrator, Esther Jacobo, will serve as interim secretary.

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