FRANKLIN COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — The Secretary of the Department of Children and Families was in Franklin County on Tuesday responding to Sheriff’s A.J Smith’s concerns.
Last month, Smith publicly called out the agency’s workers, saying they aren’t doing their jobs, but Tuesday’s conversation resulted in a win-win situation.
Smith blasted DCF on Facebook Live for failing to protect children in his county. His final straw involved a teenager who was essentially homeless and committing crimes.
Smith said DCF did not return phone calls or respond in a timely manner.
DCF Secretary Shevaun Harris visited Smith to discuss the issues face-to-face.
“They got to hear from my staff, they got to hear from me, and they took all these, I mean they were making pages and pages of notes and they are going to take it back and look at it and see what they can do better,” Smith said.
Harris said she believes the drive from Tallahassee to Franklin County played a major role in the matter.
“We are going to dedicate more resources to this particular county,” Harris said. “We think having more boots on the ground working with his staff is going to make a difference.”
“Distance between people, between agencies, creates a problem,” Smith said. “So when we alleviate or reduce that distance, then we are going to be able to have a better service, and that’s all I want.”
“Our engagement with law enforcement is so important like I said and we can’t do our job without them,” Harris said. “So I want him and his team to feel like we are partners.
Smith said he stands behind his original complaints but appreciates the opportunity to communicate those issues.