DCF Press Release

State of Florida
Department of Children and Families
Charlie Crist

Robert A. Butterworth

August 30, 2007 (850) 488-4855

Children and Families Secretary Appoints Advisory
Panel to Improve Adult Protection System

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. - Department of Children and Families Secretary Bob Butterworth today announced the appointment of the Select Advisory Panel on Adult Protective Services, to review all aspects of the Department's adult protection system and identify areas that need improvement.

"It's critical that we address the needs and issues of caring for the state's most vulnerable adults," said Secretary Butterworth. "The Task Force on Child Protection is currently working to improve Florida's child welfare system, but we need to make a similar effort to properly protect and provide for our adult population, especially the elderly and disabled."

The Secretary has asked the panel to provide the Department's leadership with advice and counsel on services to Florida's adults, including guardianship, as well as to identify statutory, policy, or procedural problems with state programs and make recommendations for improvement. The panel will also assist in enhancing communication between the Department and the people it serves by identifying special needs and services which should be provided by the Department to better accomplish its mission.

This Select Advisory Panel on Adult Protective Services includes:

  • Professor Rebecca C. Morgan, Stetson University College of Law, Chair
  • Jack Shreve, Senior Counsel to the Governor
  • Ed Boyer, Boyer and Jackson, P.A.
  • Richard Milstein, Akerman Senterfitt
  • Dr. Randy Otto, Florida Mental Health Institute
  • Preston Mighdoll, Assistant State Attorney, Fifteenth Judicial Circuit
  • Sheriff Donald Eslinger, Seminole County
  • Chief Dorene Thomas, Pinellas Park Police Department
  • Judge Patricia Thomas, Fifth Judicial Circuit
  • Judge Mel Grossman, Seventeenth Judicial Circuit
  • Professor Gordon Butler, St. Thomas College of Law
  • Michelle Hollister, Executive Director, Statewide Public Guardianship Office
  • Stacy Merritt, State Elder Abuse Prevention Program, Department of Elder Affairs
  • Doris "Peggy" Bailey, Elder Advocate
  • Gwen Kaldenberg, Director of the Bresler Alzheimer's Program, Menorah Manor
  • Sharon D'Eusanio, Assistant Director, Victim Services and Criminal Justice Programs, Office of the Attorney General
  • Thomas Rice, Bureau of Residential and Clinical Supports, Agency for Persons with Disabilities

In the past, the Department had little authority to establish and fund advisory committees like the Select Advisory Panel on Adult Protective Services, but changes made to the Florida Statutes during the 2007 legislative session have now granted the Department Secretary the authority to establish and support such groups.

Secretary Butterworth has asked the panel to hold its first meeting before October 10, 2007.


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