Chapter 415 of the Florida Statues mandates that the Department of Children and Families also provide services to detect and correct abuse, neglect and exploitation of vulnerable adults who, because of their age or disability, may be unable to adequately provide for their own care or protection.
Florida has many retirement communities and a large population of older adults, many who are vulnerable because of age and increasing disability.
Effective October 2012, Section 39.201, Florida Statutes, requires any person who knows or reasonably suspects that a child has been abused, abandoned or neglected to report such knowledge or suspicion to the Department of Children and Families (DCF).
This obligation now applies whether the alleged perpetrator is a parent, guardian, person responsible for the child’s welfare, or other adult.
If the report is accepted, the Hotline counselor sends a typed report of the allegations to the local investigation county office where the victim is located.
After the report is sent to the local office, the report is assigned to a Child Protective Investigator (CPI) who is then responsible for conducting an investigation on the allegations called in.
However, the names of the reporters cannot be released to parties outside of DCF’s child protection team, hotline, law enforcement or the state attorney’s office without the reporter’s written consent.