DCF admits mistakes after Bell mass slaying, but not answering questions

Report admits department missed chronic issues with family


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A preliminary report from Florida's Department of Children and Families says they could not have prevented the tragic murders in Bell. DCF admits mistakes, but they haven't been answering questions.

More than 250 new positions were added to the department this past legislative session and 37 of them will be used for an independent review system of open cases.

Don Spirit went on a rampage that left his six grandchildren and his daughter dead before he killed himself.

DCF released a report Wednesday saying nothing could have predicted what happened, even though Spirit had a record marred with red flags. The report admits the department missed chronic issues with the family.

RELATED: DCF report: Family killings not predictable

Meg Baldwin, executive director of a domestic violence help center called the Refuge House, said it's important to learn from the missteps.

"Whatever red flags we saw here or whatever different steps we might take in the future to prevent such a homicide, that we will do so," said Baldwin.

The department did announce reforms ranging from retraining to additional reviews. But Roy Miller, with the Florida Children's Campaign, said it's too little, too late from the state agency.

"Case by case shouldn't matter. We need more systemic reform," said Miller. "In the major urban areas -- six of them -- sheriffs do the investigations. We ought to be going down that path."

The interim secretary for DCF announced he'll be touring all of the department's regional facilities in the state starting next week.