Fred Barnes says Jeb Bush is great. Here’s a real-life example of what Jeb Bush means to real people: thanks to his choices, the state of Florida loses track of hundreds — yes, hundreds — of at-risk kids in the foster care system every year. That’s right: rather than raise taxes, Jeb Bush chose — even after the matter became a state scandal three years ago — to run a system in which the state of Florida takes kids into care, then loses them, (often to biological parents, ruled unfit to keep them, who then kidnaped them). We don’t know if they’re dead. We don’t know if they’re on the streets. We don’t know anything about where they are. All we know is that Jeb Bush doesn’t care much about them — couldn’t be bothered to find competent people to run the system nor to fund it properly.
When the disappearance of a 5-year-old girl from her Miami foster home four years ago went unnoticed for months, the ensuing scandal that engulfed Florida’s child-welfare agency led to recriminations and promises of beefed-up efforts to track down children who went missing from state care.
A few months later, Gov. Jeb Bush and his social-services chief declared ”success,” saying the state had found all but 102 of about 400 foster children who had gone missing.
That was Dec. 17, 2002.
Yet as of Monday, the number of kids missing from the state’s troubled child-welfare system has skyrocketed to 652, most of them runaway teens and youngsters snatched from foster care by their biological parents. The number of missing kids has risen even as the number of kids in state care has declined.
And here’s the killer quote:
“People look for their pets with greater concern,” said Howard Talenfeld, a Fort Lauderdale attorney who is president of Florida’s Children First.