Rebecca Kapusta will become interim Secretary of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) after the resignation of Secretary Mike Carroll, who’s leaving the post Sept. 6.
Gov. Rick Scott announced the move Tuesday afternoon. He did not say when he expected to name a full-time replacement, if any; the term-limited governor departs office in January.
“Rebecca has served the Department for more than 10 years, and I’m sure she’ll continue to work to better our communities and protect Florida’s most vulnerable citizens,” Scott said in a statement.
Kapusta was most recently Assistant Secretary for Operations after being the department’s General Counsel.
Before that, the decade-plus department veteran was Chief Counsel for DCF’s SunCoast Region in Children’s Legal Services, as well as Assistant Regional Counsel and Assistant General Counsel.
Kapusta, who once was a general magistrate in the 12th Judicial Circuit, received her undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Central Florida and a law degree from Stetson University College of Law.
She follows Carroll, whose “tenure as secretary is the longest in DCF’s 21-year history,” Scott has said. Carroll was appointed in December 2014.
He inherited a system documented earlier that year, by the Miami Herald’s “Innocents Lost” investigation, as “clearly broken, leaving children unprotected and at risk.”
And a 133-page internal review commissioned by Carroll in 2016 depicted a dysfunctional agency, with workers feeling “unsupported,” “overwhelmed,” and “defeated.”
But a previous press release from Scott’s office said Carroll oversaw “expanded substance abuse treatment services statewide, including medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders; achieved record numbers of adoptions; (and) championed anti-human trafficking efforts,” among other achievements.