After grilling him about changes in the state’s child welfare system, a panel of state senators Thursday okayed Mike Carroll’s appointment as secretary of the Department of Children and Families.

Carroll, who is from Safety Harbor, was first appointed interim secretary by Gov. Rick Scott in April 2014, in the midst of serious upheaval in the department. His appointment came after the Miami Herald chronicled a series of child deaths, including 477 children whose families had previously interacted with DCF.

Since then, other the Tampa Bay Times and Sarasota Herald-Tribune have detailed violence and neglect at the state’s mental hospitals, tied to decreases in funding and understaffing.

“Despite some of the failures that are so prominently documented in the news, the department has many successes too,” Carroll said. “We deal with many families where we change literally the trajectory of a child’s life, we change the trajectory of a family’s life moving forward.”

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