(12-17) 11:53 PST TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) --
Law enforcement officials still cannot find more than 100
of 393 children reported missing from Department of Children
& Families care, a report released Tuesday said.
Out the 103 youngsters listed on the report, 88 are being
sought by law enforcement as missing children. Thirteen have
turned 18 and are not being sought by law enforcement, the
report said. Another turned 18 but is being sought as a
missing adult and another, 17-year-old Marissa Karp, was found
shot to death in August.
Gov. Jeb Bush started Operation Safekids in August,
ordering DCF and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to
find the children missing from state care, most of whom are
believe to be runaways or taken by a noncustodial relative.
Bush called the operation a success in a statement released
Tuesday, saying that in addition to locating most of the
missing children it improved communication between DCF and law
Operation Safekids "has helped to establish a system that
will better protect the children in our state," Bush said.
As part of the process, the state formed seven regional
task forces to search for the children and make
recommendations on how to better ensure children's safety.
Bush's order resulted from DCF scrutiny in the wake of the
Rilya Wilson case. The 5-year-old Miami girl was missing for
15 months before department officials in April realized she
was gone. She is still unaccounted-for and is one of the
children on the list.
The department was further embarrassed in August when the
South Florida Sun-Sentinel found nine missing children by
checking public records and other routing footwork.
DCF Secretary Kathleen Kearney resigned in August and was
replaced by Jerry Regier. Regier and FDLE Commissioner Tim
Moore will join Bush on Tuesday to give the governor details
of the report's findings.
The body of Karp, described as a chronic runaway with drug
and mental problems, was found Aug. 19 in a canal in Collier
County. Officials said Karp had been under DCF's care since
October 2001, when she was placed in a juvenile intervention
program because of delinquency problems.
Also Tuesday, Missouri Gov. Bob Holden ordered a shakeup in
his state's Department of Social Services and accepted the
resignation of a top official in response to the death of
Dominic James, a 2-year-old foster child, in August. The boy's
foster father, John Dilley, 34, has pleaded innocent to murder
and other charges.
Holden's office said he had requested the resignation of
Robin Gierer, associate director of child welfare. Another
department official also resigned recently.