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Story By Mark Douglas

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The executive director of Eckerd Kids told a room full of child welfare advocates assembled in Tampa on Tuesday that her private agency is working its way out of a $2.3 million deficit and improving the $73 million publicly-funded foster care program that you paid for in Hillsborough County.

“We have a lot of people in training and we have recently increased retention rates as well,” said Jodi Grutza. That can’t happen soon enough. Performance data released Monday by Eckerd Kids indicates that a third of foster care caseworkers in Hillsborough County have caseloads of 26 kids or more. There’s also been a 58 percent turnover rate for caseworkers during the past 12 months. The number of foster kids neglected or abused while in Eckerd’s Hillsborough foster care system is in the “red zone.”
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