Eckerd Connects has hired a new top manager to lead its deeply troubled foster care program in Hillsborough County out of its current crisis.  

News Channel 8 has learned Dr. Chris Card, the former Chief Operating Officer of Lutheran Services of Florida is replacing Lorita Shirley.  

Shirley has been at the center of controversy since February when our 8 On Your Side investigation revealed that foster kids were living day and night in the parking lot of a Wawa gas station instead of going to school, therapy and foster homes. The investigation also confirmed the ongoing problem of foster kids sleeping in offices, which we first exposed three years ago.

Shirley is moving to another role at Eckerd, where she will be in charge of quality and performance across all of their programs, according to spokesman Doug Tobin.

Card, a well-respected veteran in the child welfare profession, is being brought in to help restore the non-profit’s foster care program, which is now under review by a DCF peer review team and the DCF Inspector General’s Office, largely as a result of our ongoing 8 On Your Side investigation.