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Child abuse prevention pushed before Cherish Perrywinkle's death

4:52 PM, Jun 25, 2013   |    comments
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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) -- Gov. Rick Scott vetoed $3 million for a program that would have educated school children from kindergarten through fifth grade on stranger danger and abuse prevention.
The funding was cut the month before an 8-year-old Jacksonville girl was allegedly abducted and murdered by a registered sex offender.
A Senate Appropriations Committee approved funding for the "Safer, Smarter Families" program, which would have been taught in classrooms statewide this fall. But Scott vetoed the legislation in May, noting the curriculum could be developed in the private sector.

He pointed to a $550,000 appropriation this year to Lauren's Kids, a child abuse prevention organization, which has received Legislative funding in the past to bring that curriculum to kindergarteners statewide.
Authorities said Donald James Smith befriended Cherish Perrywinkle and her mother at a store. Her body was found Saturday.

KELLI KENNEDY, Associated Press

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