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Child protection workers, law enforcement training on how to spot initial signs of child abuse

Posted at 11:11 AM, Oct 25, 2019

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Nearly 500 child protection workers, law enforcement officers, judges, attorneys and mental health workers are taking part in a first of its kind training about how to spot initial signs of child abuse and child brain injury.

The training is part of “Jordan’s Law” named after Jordan Belliveau, the 2-year-old Largo boy who died allegedly at the hands of his mother. Jordan’s mother Charisse Stinson, told Largo Police in 2018 that she accepted a ride from a stranger who she believed also kidnapped Jordan. An amber alert was sent out and Jordan’s body was found on September 4, 2018.

DCF: Several child protection agencies failed to protect Jordan Belliveau
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Stinson later told police she hit Jordan, causing his head to hit a wall and the boy to have seizures. Jordan died a few hours later. Stinson tried to hide his body near the Largo Sports Complex.

An investigation found child protection workers missed several key warning signs.

Lawmakers like Representative Chris Latvala are trying yet again to pass Jordan’s Law this upcoming legislative session.

One year prior to Jordan’s death, another child also in Largo, Will Hendrickson, died from hyperthermia or “heat stroke,” another form of brain injury that doctors say is prevalent in the child welfare system.

At the time, there was no mandatory training in these forms of brain injury for child welfare professionals. Dr. Jim Lewis worked with Representative Chris Latvala to make it part of Jordan’s law. They are not waiting until the law passes to put it in motion.

Friday morning, the first training on brain injuries and child abuse took place at St. Petersburg College’s Clearwater campus. The nearly 500 professionals are from 23 child welfare system agencies and organizations in Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough Counties.

Organizers hope trainings like it will encourage more child welfare and law enforcement officials to ask more questions, get involved and help prevent child abuse....potentially saving children like Jordan Belliveau.

If Jordan’s Law passes, Florida will be the first state in the country to require child abuse and brain injury training for law enforcement and child protection workers.

Representative Latvala says Jordan’s Law is moving along in the statehouse. It passed unanimously in the first committee Thursday and will have to go through two more committees in the house before being brought before the full legislature.