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Governor Signs Jordan’s Law – Measure Designed to Improve Child Welfare System

Jordan Belliveau | Child Welfare | TB Reporter

The law was named after Jordan Belliveau, a Largo 2 year old who died from head trauma allegedly caused by his mother in September 2018 after child welfare workers missed numerous warning signs. 

LARGO – A bill protecting children from abuse in Florida’s child welfare system was signed into law late Thursday (June 18) by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The bill, called Jordan’s Law, was introduced by state Rep. Chris Latvala, R-CLearwater, who called the signing the “proudest” moment of his public service career.

“Today is my proudest day as a member of the Florida House,” Latvala said. “This bill will fix a broken system and save lives and I thank Governor Ron DeSantis for signing it. His administration has taken an intense focus on reforming the child welfare system in Florida. His DCF Secretary, Chad Poppell is committed to protecting Florida’s kids I want to thank DCF for their help on this bill.”

The bill is named after 2-year-old Jordan Belliveau who died from head trauma allegedly caused by his mother in September 2018 after child welfare workers missed numerous warning signs.

“I still remember where I was when I received the Amber Alert on my phone about a missing 2-year-old from Largo. Precious Jordan lived 2 short years on this earth, but he will forever leave a mark on me, this community, and his legacy will be one that protects kids like him. The systematic failures that led to Jordan Belliveau’s death are inexcusable and I believe this bill addresses those failure.”

Chris Latvala | Politics | TB Reporter
Chris Latvala

Under Jordan’s Law, Florida’s child welfare system would be fixed by reducing the case load, streamlining communication, and increasing training.  When able, the case manager’s load would be slashed in half, from 30 to 15 cases, increasing attention on the children they’re tracking.  Additionally, the law would close the gap between data collected by case workers and law enforcement.  In short, the two agencies would share information more optimally to help children stay away from violent caregivers.  The law would also require special training for parents, caseworkers, and law enforcement to better recognize the warning signs of head trauma – the leading cause of child abuse deaths.

Latvala also thanked Miranda Hoffstetter following today’s signing.

“I met her a week or so after Jordan’s tragic murder. She was a 21-year-old constituent in my district who started an online petition to change Florida’s Child Welfare laws which garnered thousands of signatures. She asked me to take up the cause of child welfare reform and get Justice for Jordan and I told her I would. The world needs more people like Miranda Hoffstetter- a 21-year-old young lady from Clearwater helped spearhead a transformational bill that will save kids of Florida for generations.”

Another person Latvala said deserved credit for helping Jordan’s Law become a reality is Dr. Jim Lewis, a renowned clinical neuropsychologist based in St. Petersburg. Lewis is an expert in brain and head injuries in children.

“With the signing of Jordan’s Law, Go. DeSantis and the legislature make Florida the first state in the country to have mandatory brain injury education for all child welfare professionals,” Lewis said. “The inclusion of brain injury education in the law was a true collaboration and Rep. Latvala deserves credit for his leadership on this issue.”

Jordan’s Law | Chris Latvala | Jordan Belliveau | Tampabay News | News Tampa

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