2015-11-14 General Membership Mtg

General Membership Quarterly Meeting Nov. 14, 2015, 12:45 PM

Friends of Foster Children – West Palm Beach

Submitted for approval by FSFAPA Secretary Charles Parker. Harriet started the meeting at 12:45 with words of welcome.

Introduction board members present: Harriett Wynn (President), Chris Johnson (Executive VP), Maria Bond (Treasurer), Charles Parker (Secretary), Keith Best (RVP), Melanie Stimmell (RVP), Dorothy Alvarez (RVP), Coleen LaCosta (FAST Coordinator), Victoria Herrin (Band Manager) and Wendy Vernon (Advocacy).

Charles discussed the prior meeting minutes (emailed to board members and posted on the website) and asked if anyone had any edits. Motion to accept the minutes was made by Melanie from the floor and Angela McFarlane seconded. Vote passed with no opposition or voiced abstaining votes.

Charles then informed the group that the elections for the group were all uncontested and announced that the election of Chris Johnson as Exec VP and the slate of RVPs and that the board will make these elections official at their meeting later that day. (Secretary position was up for election but nominations were declined – so it will be filled by appointment.)

Melanie gave an update on the 2016 Annual Education Conference, set for the Orlando Renaissance Resort (Sea World). Date is June 10-12. Looking for exhibitors and trainers. Maria informed the group that there are generally scholarships available through the CBCs, and encouraged members to start talking with their case workers about considerations for these scholarships.

Open positions are listed on the website; Harriet encouraged everyone to review the open positions and contact her if they are interested in joining the board.

Harriet shared that the association will be participating in Rally in Tally on Nov. 30-Dec. 1. Wendy Vernon gave a brief description of the event to meet with legislators and share with them the needs of our families. (More info at FLchildren.org)

Chris gave a Fostering Success Update, in partnership with DCF and QPI focusing on recruiting foster and adoptive homes for teens. He referred everyone to monitor progress at QPIFlorida.org – and if they are interested in participating in any of the workgroups or looking for resources to help share info about the need for homes for teens.

Keith gave an Duffels update about the walk in May 21, at the Jacksonville Zoo. Melanie also updated that she has a supply of duffels that she is taking to the central FSFAPA region, but can possibly assist nearby areas.

The next Quarterly meeting is in 1Q and is not yet set, Harriet encouraged people to suggest locations and partners (Bartow and Miami/Turnberry Island were suggested.)

Charles gave an update on Adoption Intervention legislation and urged everyone to follow the progress on the association’s website and Facebook page. There is a bill in the state senate (590 “Child’s Best Hope”) sponsored by Senator Detert and there will be a house companion introduced in the next several days. The biggest issue in play is to have the Chapter 39 “Best Interest” language tests into this Adoption Intervention process so that the judges can use those tests to determine if the motion is really in the best interest of the children.

State Rep. Mark Pafford (D-86) joined the group and shared pointers on how to speak with your legislators effectively. He also shared the pressures and forces at play in Tallahassee, and how effective conversations with your representatives can benefit you. Using the Bill Numbers and Titles when discussing them (and even asking why they voted the way they did) certainly gets their attention. He also encouraged contact with specific “asks” that are presented in a very clear way.

Meeting adjourned at 2:20 p.m.