David Wilkins, Florida DCF chief resigns

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- The head of Florida's child welfare agency is stepping down.

   Thursday's sudden announcement comes after the Department of Children and Families has been under fire recently for a handful of child deaths.

   Secretary David Wilkins said he is leaving to pursue opportunities in the private sector and to provide more attention to his foundation. Miami's regional managing director Esther Jacobo will fill in as interim secretary.

   DCF recently fired a child protective investigator for forging documents about a mother's substance abuse program in the months before a child's death.

   The private contractors that oversee foster care have also criticized Wilkins lately, accusing him of trying to exert too much control over them, which they claim undermined the goals of the privatized system.

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