Dottie Berger MacKinnon, longtime child advocate, founder of "A Kids Place," dies at 71

TAMPA, Fla. - Dottie Berger MacKinnon, longtime child advocate and founder of A Kids Place, a group foster home in Brandon aimed at keeping siblings together, has died. She was 71.

Berger MacKinnon, a former Hillsborough County Commissioner, had been battling intestinal cancer since 2010. She was given only a few months to live, but over the past three years, she continued to make a difference through her work with A Kids Place, raising money and providing homes for abused and abandoned children.

Berger MacKinnon was one of 10 children raised on a farm in Kentucky. She graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in Political Science.

Berger MacKinnon served on the Hillsborough County Commission and became a community activist as the co-founder of Joshua House and as the visionary behind A Kids Place, a residential care facility for abused and abandoned children. The goal was to keep siblings together while in foster care because they are often separated without consideration of their need to stay connected to their siblings.

In 2011, the Curtis Hixon Playground was named after her and in 2012, a statue was unveiled in her honor. Berger MacKinnon and her husband "Sandy" MacKinnon have five children and 17 grandchildren.

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