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.