Revamped Florida Abuse Hotline Up and Running

Dec 13, 2012

The Florida Department of Children and Families Wednesday showed reporters through its redesigned abuse hotline. The revamped system quickly researches a family's history and sends crucial data to child protective investigators.

The changes were inspired by the gruesome 2011 murder of ten-year-old Nubia Barahona by her adoptive parents. 

Shortly before her death, a hotline caller said the girl and her twin were tied up in a bathtub.

DCF Secretary David Wilkins says the agency didn’t quickly follow-up as it should have.

Project HELP, Inc., dubbed the ‘emotional 9-1-1’ of Collier County, fields hundreds of calls each month from people in crisis dealing with issues spanning from grief and loss to domestic violence and sexual assault. Victim advocates find the need for services doesn’t take a day off around the holidays. We’ll hear stories of recovery from local survivors of sexual assault and how they hope to use their experiences as a tool for helping others.

New Study Ranks Florida on Overall Health

Dec 11, 2012

A new study ranks Florida 34th in the nation when it comes to overall health.

The United Health Care Foundation study considered several factors including the percentage of people who smoke, the percentage of those without health insurance and the state's obesity rates.

Being overweight is a factor in being diagnosed with type-two diabetes. The state ranked 38th for the percentage of adults with the disease.

The state task force on keeping babies from being born addicted to prescription drugs met Monday in Tallahassee.

The panel led by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi reviewed recommendations from members before making its report next month.

Secretary David Wilkins of the Florida Department of Children and Families proposed a $22 million investment by his agency in prevention services.

He said substance abuse by parents plays a role in nearly half the cases in which the state takes children into custody.

Christin Giordano is a first-year student at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine. But six years ago as an undergraduate, she says she grappled with her decision on whether to go down that path.

“I had this dream of what a physician was and it was someone who spent time with their patients, diagnosed them appropriately, took care of them, established a relationship with them”, said Giordano. “But as I shadowed physicians in college I saw that was not the practice reality for many of them.”