DCF position created to help stop child fatalities



ORLANDO, Fla. - A new position has been created at the Department of Children and Families to help stop child fatalities.

Lisa Rivera has been named DCF's statewide fatality prevention specialist.

The position comes in the wake of the death of 2-year-old Tariji Gordon, who Sanford police believe was beaten to death by her mother, Rachel Fryer, after the state reunited them.

9 Investigates reported earlier this month Tariji's death was one of hundreds of similar cases. Rivera's position will help the agency respond to those types of situations.

Rivera, who has worked for DCF for over 17 years, started the job Friday and will oversee data gathering and the agency's responses to child deaths.

DCF created the position to try to improve transparency when releasing child-abuse-death records.

Channel 9's Tim Barber learned Rivera is not just going to be looking at cases in central Florida, rather her time will be split around the state.

"We are constantly looking for additional ways to enhance and improve the way we are engaging families and protecting children," said DCF spokeswoman Kristi Gray.

Larosa Sippio, who claims to be Fryer's cousin, told Channel 9 she thinks the position is a great idea.

"The children are our future, so why not protect them first before we protect anybody?" she said.

Rivera is going to help figure out where the state needs to focus its attention to prevent deaths on DCF's watch.

She has specialized in child welfare and is also an expert in domestic abuse.