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'Jordan's Law' | Gov. DeSantis signs bill that would protect kids from abuse in Fla. welfare system

Lawmaker plans to file 'Jordan's Law'
Posted at 3:27 PM, Feb 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-19 19:05:10-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill designed to protect children from abuse in the state's welfare system. It goes into effect on July 1.

The bill is named after Jordan Belliveau, who investigators say was murdered by his mother in Largo in 2018. The bill would require law enforcement to be notified when they respond to calls where a person or caregiver is the subject of a child protective investigation.

When Miranda Hoffstetter saw the picture of 2-year-old Jordan Belliveau, she couldn’t shake it.

“Jordan looked a lot like my oldest son and it hit home because it was just really upsetting seeing such a little kid have to go through what he went through,” said Hoffstetter.

Investigators had found several child welfare workers missed warning signs that could have kept Jordan from being put back in his mother’s care.

So Hoffstetter, just 20 years old, started a petition asking for new laws in the child welfare system.

“I knew something needed to be changed in order to have this not happen again,” she said.

Jordan's Law would reduce workload for caseworkers meaning the maximum caseload would be no more than 15 children, if possible. The bill also asks for a training program for caseworkers so they can better detect signs of abuse.

Jordan’s Law was introduced by state Representative Chris Latvala, who called the signing the “proudest” moment of his public service career.

“Today is my proudest day as a member of the Florida House,” Rep. Latvala said in a press release. “This bill will fix a broken system and save lives and I thank Governor Ron DeSantis for signing it. His administration has taken an intense focus on reforming the child welfare system in Florida. His DCF Secretary, Chad Poppell is committed to protecting Florida’s kids I want to thank DCF for their help on this bill.”

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Latvala says the passing of this bill shows how anyone can make a difference.

“I feel amazing. I’m so honored to be able to say I’m a part of this,” said Hoffstetter.

Jordan's Law goes into effect on July 1.

The previous version of Jordan's Law passed unanimously in the House in the 2019 legislative session, but the Senate failed to take it up claiming there were legal issues with the bill.

Jordan's mother, Charisse Stinson, is in jail awaiting trial.

Detectives say in 2018, Stinson told an elaborate lie claiming she and her child were picked up by a stranger before she was knocked unconscious and her son was abandoned in the woods.