Top Headlines 7/27

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Child Welfare

As more children are placed in foster families, adopted or returned to their birth parents, the number of group foster homes in Florida has dwindled to a few. Kate Santich of the Orlando Sentinel wonders if foster group homes are becoming extinct.

John Mattingly, child welfare chief in New York City for the past seven years, is resigning. Mattingly told senior staff at the Administration for Family Services that his wife’s illness prompted the move, according to Melissa Russo of NBC New York. His resignation comes as two ACF workers are charged with criminally negligent homicide in the beating and starvation death of a 4-year-old.

The death of 5-year-old Serenity Deal, who was killed weeks after she was returned to her biological father, is becoming a political football in Oklahoma, Ann Kelley of NewsOK reports..  The House speaker and a district attorney have criticized child welfare workers’ handling of the case. Four workers involved in the case have been placed on administrative leave and one of those – who reportedly argued against returning the girl -- has since committed suicide. Another has resigned.

Education

Roddie Burris of Columbia, S.C.’s The State newspaper chronicles the anxiety that is building for college students who rely on Pell Grants and direct student loans and the budget/debt ceiling debate continues.

Juvenile Justice

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) writes in an opinion piece in The Miami Herald that reform is under way in the juvenile justice system in the state despite the recent death in custody of 14-year-old Eric Perez.