Source: By Jeff Cull & Amy Williams, News Press (FL), March 26, 2006
When the Florida Legislature handed off child welfare to community-based groups in 2000 — a move designed to privatize the state system that cares for abused and neglected children — it was expected local nonprofit groups would replace the beleaguered state agency. That hasn’t always happened.
Providence Service Corporation, a publicly traded Arizona company, owns or manages three companies that have garnered more than $120 million in state child welfare contracts in at least 11 of Florida’s 22 child welfare districts. One of its partners, Camelot Community Care, a nonprofit child social-service provider in Florida and five other states, has a nearly $100 million contract to provide child welfare in Southwest Florida, taking over responsibility from the Florida Department of Children & Families.
…… Privatizing Florida’s child welfare system began in 1996 when the Legislature directed DCF to establish pilot projects in four districts through contracts with community-based agencies. Even though three of those pilot projects failed, the state continued with its plan to move all foster care, adoption and child protection services into the hands of private nonprofit agencies.