News

The latest news about Florida State Foster/Adoptive Parent Association:

Call for Presenters (EXTENDED to Dec. 8)

Posted November 16, 2017 by FloridaFAPA

Thank you for your interest in the 2018 Florida State Foster Parent Association and National Foster Parent Association Joint Education Conference. The conference will be held June 28-July 1, 2018 in Orlando. (for the event page click here)  We look forward to receiving your innovative proposals and value your participation in our conference.

Deadline for Proposals

All proposals must be submitted electronically by Dec. 1, 2017 using this link to submit your proposal.

Topic Areas

We encourage proposals that relate to the conference theme while being useful for our conference participants: typically foster, kinship and adoptive families (as well as child welfare and mental health professionals.)  Strategies for advocacy – legislative and child or family focused – are welcome.

Selection Criteria

  • Relevance to the conference theme, special populations, organizations and individuals in/outside the the formal child welfare system.
  • Engaging format, including use of handouts, interactive presentations and discussions, hands-on learning opportunities.
  • Ability to be replicated and adapted by participants within their families, communities, associations and practice areas.
  • Explanation of procedure and tools for implementation.
  • Relevance to foster, adoptive and kinship families and agency professionals.

Requirements

  • All workshops are 90 minutes in length. The selected presenters MUST agree in writing to provide an electronic copy of any handout materials for possible publication/posting on the conference website and to provide paper copies of handouts are due to FSFAPA by June 21, 2018.
  • All presenters and any co-presenters MUST register for the conference. Presenters and co-presenters MUST pay their own expenses, including conference registration. Conference registration is reduced to $150 for presenters and co-presenters who want to attend other workshops and conference events (including any meals). Presenter and co-presenters who attend only their own workshop can register at no cost.

Please note: FSFAPA and/or NFPA will NOT provide projectors or laptops for any workshops.  Presenters must bring this equipment with them if it is required for their presentation. This includes any cords or adapters needed to operate your equipment. FSFAPA and/or NFPA do not pay for any presentations, nor do they provide lodging assistance for presenters.

If you have any questions about the conference or would like clarification, please contact Trudy Petkovich or Kara Elliot-Jordan.


Governor Scott’s Securing Florida’s Future Budget Invests More Than $3B to Protect Families

Posted November 14, 2017 by FloridaFAPA

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Governor Rick Scott’s Securing Florida’s Future budget proposes $3.1 billion for the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to continue carrying out the agency’s mission to keep vulnerable children and families safe, support adoptive families, and expand and improve community behavioral health services. This funding will also support Florida’s response to the national opioid crisis impacting families and communities across the state.

Governor Scott said, “The safety of Florida’s families has always been a top priority in our state and these investments included in the Securing Florida’s Future Budget will continue to enhance support for the services DCF provides to Floridians and communities. We are making critical investments to support those struggling with opioid addiction. The individuals struggling with drug use are sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and friends, and it is crucial that we remain committed to doing all we can to ensure they have the support and services they need. The investments in this year’s budget also serve to further strengthen our commitment to protecting children by helping with retention and workload of Florida’s Child Protective Investigators and Florida Abuse Hotline counselors. I look forward to working with the Legislature to support this funding as we continue to work together to keep vulnerable children safe.”

DCF Secretary Mike Carroll said, “Protecting the vulnerable is the core of our mission. DCF works diligently with our partners to promote strong and healthy families. Governor Scott’s proposed budget shows his commitment to Florida’s most vulnerable citizens and the importance of providing resources to allow DCF to ensure the health and safety of Florida’s families. It only takes one caring adult to change the life of a child and investing in our children today creates a hopeful and prosperous tomorrow.”

Governor Scott’s Securing Florida’s Future budget includes:
$10 million investment for an additional 130 Child Protective Investigator (CPI) positions and Florida Abuse Hotline counselors within the Florida Department of Children and Families. This investment will address retention and workload statewide as these individuals continue to focus on keeping vulnerable children safe;

$10.4 million for the Community-Based Care Lead Agencies to maintain funding for dependency case management positions to support increasing out-of-home care caseloads of case managers;

$2.2 million to expand the existing continuum of care for victims of human trafficking;

$2.2 million for maintenance adoption subsidies, which provides funding for the families of children who are adopted from foster care to receive the services they need. This is an increase over current year funding, resulting in a nearly $200 million investment;

$27 million for year two of the State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grant for medication-assisted treatment and support and prevention services;

$15 million to enhance substance abuse service capacity statewide, including increasing outpatient, aftercare, recovery support, residential, and medication-assisted treatment;

$2.8 million to create three new Forensic Multidisciplinary Teams to serve individuals with mental illnesses who are charged with non-violent felony offenses or are at-risk of being charged with a non-violent felony offense;

$2.2 million to implement Coordinated Specialty Care treatment programs targeting youth and young adults ages 15-30 with early serious mental illness.
Jessica Pryce, Director, Florida Institute of Child Welfare, said, “We are continually grateful that the Governor puts the interests and safety of Florida’s children at the forefront of Florida’s priorities. This budget will facilitate an increase in essential services to vulnerable children and adoptive families, including vital support to the child protection workforce.”

Mark Fontaine, Executive Director of the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association, said, “I applaud Governor Scott for his efforts in the proposed budget to provide additional resources to expand substance abuse treatment and recovery support services. This funding is critical to combat the devastating impact of the widespread opioid epidemic affecting individuals, families, and communities across our state.

Melanie Brown-Woofter, Interim President of the Florida Council for Community Mental Health, said, “Early intervention and treatment for mental illnesses is crucial in meeting the behavioral health needs of communities. Governor Scott’s budget reflects the need for these services, further demonstrating his commitment to Florida’s families.”

Kurt Kelly, CEO, Florida Coalition for Children said, “The Governor has put forth a budget that strives toward a brighter future for all Floridians. The agencies and individuals charged with caring for Florida’s children and youth look forward to working with the Governor and the Florida Legislature to ensure our system of care has what it needs to protect children and families in Florida.”

For more information on the Florida Department of Children and Families, visit www.MyFLFamilies.com.


Waters receives Hollinger Award for Volunteer of the Year

Posted November 6, 2017 by FloridaFAPA

Congratulations to Gerald Waters, who received Baptist Health Care’s Hollinger Award for Volunteer of the Year. Gerald is a member of FSFAPA’s Legislative Committee and the president of Santa Rosa County Kinship Care Foster Adoptive Parent Association and Santa Rosa County Foster Adoptive Parent Association.

The annual Hollinger Awards are named in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Pick and Alberta Hollinger, long-time generous supporters of Baptist Health Care who demonstrated an outstanding commitment to improving the quality of health care in Northwest Florida.

The awards are presented to individuals, families or organizations who have exhibited exceptional generosity and community leadership in Baptist Health Care’s service area (Northwest Florida). The Hollinger Awards are given for the following categories: Physician of the Year, Health Care Professional of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Women’s Board Volunteer of the Year and Lifetime Achievement award.

Gerald Williams receiving Hollinger Award for Volunteer of the Year


Gov. Scott Proposes Nearly $200 Million Investment for Adopted Children and Families

Posted November 5, 2017 by FloridaFAPA

Nov. 2, 2017 Release from Governor’s Office

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced he will propose nearly $200 million for families who adopt children from foster care. This funding will continue critical post adoption services for more than 37,000 children. Since taking office, Governor Scott has championed investments for the adoption of more than 20,000 children from Florida’s child welfare and foster care systems. Over the past year, more than 3,600 children were adopted in Florida, the highest year for adoptions in eight years. This week, Governor Scott also proclaimed November as Florida Adoption Month.

Governor Scott said, “Every November, we take time to recognize the many families across the state who have opened their hearts and homes to adopt children in need. This Florida Adoption Month, I am proud to propose a nearly $200 million investment as part of my 2018-2019 recommended budget to support children adopted from foster care. Every child deserves a loving family and adoptive parents have a unique opportunity to help change a child’s life for the better. We are grateful to the families who have provided homes for the more than 20,000 children adopted from Florida’s child welfare and foster care systems over the past seven years and will continue to do all we can to encourage families to consider adoption.”

DCF Secretary Mike Carroll said, “Being adopted into safe homes with loving families changes the lives of children and also transforms the forever families they join. Continued support after adoption enables more families to open their hearts and homes to children who are available for adoption.”

More details on the Governor’s proposed budget will be made available in the coming weeks.


DCF ‘Reissues’ Child Restraint Seat Memo

Posted October 25, 2017 by FloridaFAPA

On Tuesday (Oct. 24, 2017) DCF redistributed to all of its regional offices a 2016 memo outlining the proper use of and legal requirements for child restraint seats when transporting children.

The memo can be seen/downloaded here.

The content of the memo follows:

SUBJECT: Use of Child Restraint Seats When Transporting Children

PURPOSE: The purpose of this memorandum is to provide information concerning the proper use of car seats for children transported by the Department of Children and Families and Community-Based Care Lead Agencies or their subcontracted case management organizations. Staff must follow Florida Statutes while transporting children. In addition, the American Academy of Pediatrics provides guidance on best practices for the safe transportation of children and can be a valuable resource.

BACKGROUND: In recent years, Florida has seen changes to the state’s laws regarding requirements for the use of car seats. Currently section 316.613, Florida Statutes, requires the following:

  • Children 5 years of age and younger must be safely secured by the proper use of a crash-tested, federally approved child restraint device.
  • Children birth through 3 years of age must be secured in a separate carrier or a vehicle manufacturer’s integrated child seat.
  • Children 4 through 5 years of age must be secured in a separate carrier, an integrated child seat, or a child booster seat.

Though advisory in nature, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ car seat safety recommendations are listed below:

  • Infants and toddlers should ride rear-facing until they are at least 2 years old.
  • Young children should ride in car safety seats with a harness until at least age 4, including recommendations for children to ride in a. seat with a 5-point harness up to the highest weight or height allowed by the manufacturer.
  • School-aged children should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until at least age 8 or until the seat belt fits correctly.
  • Children should ride in the rear seat until age 13.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has an excellent resource page on its website for child and motor vehicle safety, which provides instruction on many child car seat safety-related areas as well as best practice guidelines, and can be found at the following link:
https://www.flhsmv.gov/safety-center/vehicle-and-child-safety/child-safety/

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hosts a website that provides instruction on many child car seat safety-related areas, including choosing car seats and proper installation, as well as best practice guidelines. The website can be found at the following link:
https://www.safercar.gov/parents/CarSeats/Right-Car-Seat-Age-Size.htm

Assistance and training on the proper installation of child safety seats is provided at many county health departments and law enforcement agencies throughout the state. The links below provide locations for those certified to inspect for the proper installationof child safety seats and to provide instruction on proper installation:

ACTION NEEDED: Please distribute this Informational Memo to both child protective investigators and Community-Based Care Lead Agency staff. Staff are responsible for ensuring the safety of children while transporting them and must follow all state laws regarding the transportation of children.

CONTACT INFORMATION: Should you have questions about this communication, please contact Amy Hand, Office of Child Welfare, at 850-717-4491, or via e-mail at amy.hand@myflfamilies.com.DOC102317DOC102317


Share your QPI Stories to celebrate 10 years! (+Survey)

Posted October 6, 2017 by FloridaFAPA

We received this email from Celina Granato (The Executive Administrator for QPI) and we were asked to share it! … Please consider taking part if you are in one of our many QPI communities.

Dear National QPI Network,

Just a reminder that we want to know your thoughts, and maybe hear a story or two, about how QPI has impacted your system.

Click this link to reflect here!  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TenYearsQPIandYou

You can email photo(s), too!

Big Thank You from your National QPI Team!

———- ORIGINAL EMAIL ———-

From: Celina Granato <cgranato@qpiylc.org>

Date: Fri, Sep 15, 2017 at 4:24 PM

Dear QPI Network,

The Quality Parenting Initiative (QPI) is preparing for their 5th National Conference in early 2018 when we will also turn 10 YEARS OLD! In ten years, QPI has expanded from three areas in one site to more than 70 sites in ten different states and we’re still growing.

Many voices have been brought to QPI over the years, and we want to capture your thoughts, remarks and observations!  Whether you have been with QPI since inception or you are a newer addition to the QPI Family, we ask that you please share commentary or a short story at the link provided about how you, youth and families, and/or your system of care has been impacted by QPI.

By sharing your remarks, you give us permission to display them at the QPI National Conference, as well as our website(s). You may also share with us more than once!

Please distribute this email to all of your system partners and request respondents to provide their comments at this link:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TenYearsQPIandYou

We hope you are able to attend the National Conference which will be held January 16th and 17th, 2018 with us in New Orleans, LA.  Registration will be available mid-October, so prepare to come celebrate with us!


FSFAPA Election Update

Posted September 27, 2017 by FloridaFAPA

A quick reminder we are nearing the submission deadlines for the election for Secretary. To make voting as easy as possible, we have three methods for returning your ballots in a timely manner:

1. By traditional post mail. Must be postmarked no later than Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017.

2. Or, you may scan or take a snapshot/picture of the ballot (with selection and ballot number clearly identifiable) and email to the nominations chair at tmcroom@gofoster.org

3. Or, bring and submit your ballot in person at the Quarterly meeting to be held on OCT 14 at the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Hotel, 200 Rialto Place, Melbourne, Fl 32901.

Please note, you must be present to submit a ballot “in person.” Ballots received by designates or couriers and not by the voter in person will not be accepted. If you do not plan to attend the meeting or can not attend the meeting, then you must post mail or email your ballot.

Thank you for your votes and participation.

Sincerely,

Thomas M. Croom, Ph.D.
CEO/President/Co-Founder, Go Foster!


IRMA: More Resources in Response to Hurricane

Posted September 9, 2017 by FloridaFAPA

Here are some National Child Traumatic Stress Network resources to get you ready to be able to respond to a hurricane:

o   Parent Tips for Helping Infants and Toddlers(English) or
Consejos para que los padres ayuden a bebés y niños pequeños después de un desastre (Spanish)

o   Parent Tips for Helping Preschoolers (English)  or
Consejos para que los padres ayuden a los niños de edad preescolar después de un desastre (Spanish)

o   Parent Tips for Helping School-age Children (English) or
Consejos para que los padres ayuden a los niños de edad escolar después de un desastre (Spanish)

o   Parent Tips For Helping Adolescents (English) or
Consejos para que los padres ayuden a los adolescentes después de un desastre (Spanish)

  • E-Learning Courses:

o   For disaster responders, take PFA Online at http://learn.nctsn.org (English)

o   For community and mental health providers who plan to continue working with affected communities long-term, review Skills for Psychological Recovery (SPR) and take the SPR Online course.

  • Other Mobile Apps:

o   PFA Mobile and SAMSHA Behavioral Health Disaster Response

  • SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline: Call –800-895-5990 or text TalkWithUs or 66746. English speakers in US Territories text TalkWithUs to 1-212-461-4635

IRMA: Gov. Scott’s office releases comprehensive resource release

Posted September 9, 2017 by FloridaFAPA

To ensure links work, and in case the Governor’s office updates any information, we are posting a link to the release from FRIDAY NIGHT.  (Some local information may have updated, but this is a good “roll up” of state resources.)

Gov. Scott Issues Updates on Hurricane Irma Preparedness


IRMA: Sunshine Establishes Crisis Hotline

Posted September 8, 2017 by FloridaFAPA

Sunshine Health Establishes Free Crisis Hotline for Hurricane Irma

SUNRISE, FL – As Hurricane Irma heads toward Florida, residents are preparing for its impact. Anxiety is running high for many in the path of this very strong storm.

Sunshine Health, Envolve PeopleCare™ and LifeShare have joined forced to offer a 24-hour toll-free crisis hotline at 1-877-941-8079 for anyone affected by Hurricane Irma, now and after it makes landfall in the United States.

If you, or someone you know, would like to connect to a licensed professional, call 1-877-941-8079. The line is staffed by healthcare professionals who can offer one-on-one counseling as well as referrals to additional local resources. This is a free service for the community. You do not need to be a Sunshine Health member to call. Spanish speaking services are available.


Tips for helping children deal with evacuation, hurricane

Posted September 7, 2017 by FloridaFAPA

Our friend Graham Perkovich, Child Welfare Trainer with Sunshine Health, has pointed out some great resources (from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network) for the storm situation enveloping the peninsula.

Simple Evacuation Activities for Children and Adolescents

Parent Guidelines for Helping Children after a Hurricane

For more resources, click below:

 

http://www.nctsn.org/trauma-types/natural-disasters/hurricanes#tabset-tab-5

Note: Many are PDFs that are easily printable for times that POWER or INTERNET may not be available.

Stay safe.


UPDATED DCF MEMO RE: IRMA & TRAVEL

Posted September 6, 2017 by FloridaFAPA

FSFAPA Note: This outlines the travel order situation by judicial district, if you do not know your judicial district, click here. (Map is by judicial circuit, or you can find your Community Based Care agency.)

***Update Sept 7th at 5:00 P.M.—Circuit 10 has issued an administrative order permitting travel anywhere in U.S. during state of emergency.

***Update Sept 7th at 3:00 P.M.—Circuit 2 has issued an administrative order permitting travel anywhere in U.S. during state of emergency for Hurricane Irma.

***Update Sept 6th at 5:00 P.M.—Circuit 20 has issued an administrative order permitting travel anywhere in U.S. during state of emergency for Hurricane Irma.  The order expires on September 22nd.  Also, Circuit 4 has an administrative order permitting travel anywhere in U.S. during state of emergency.

***Update Sept 6th at 2:30 P.M.—Circuit 11 has issued an administrative order permitting travel anywhere in U.S. during state of emergency for Hurricane Irma.

***Update Sept 6th at 11:00 A.M.—Circuit 17 has issued an administrative order permitting travel anywhere in U.S. during state of emergency for Hurricane Irma.

DATE:            September 6, 2017

TO:                 Vicki Abrams, Assistant Secretary for Operations

CC:                 Grainne O’Sullivan, Statewide Director for Children’s Legal Services
Rebecca Kapusta, General Counsel
JoShonda Guerrier, Assistant Secretary for Child Welfare

FROM:           Stephanie Zimmerman

SUBJECT:   Caregiver Travel During State of Emergency

Below is a circuit breakdown of the authority granting a caregiver the ability to travel during a declared state of emergency and the extent of that authority.  Note that all administrative orders and courts orders contemplate that the caregiver must notify the Department through the CBC of the caregiver’s travel plans.

Circuit 1 Standard order language permits a caregiver to remove the child from the jurisdiction with the approval of DCF through the CBC.
Circuit 2 Court has an administrative order permitting travel anywhere in U.S. during state of emergency for Hurricane Irma.
Circuit 3 Court has an administrative order permitting travel anywhere in U.S. during state of emergency.
Circuit 4 Court has an administrative order permitting travel anywhere in U.S. during state of emergency.
Circuit 5 Court has an administrative order permitting travel anywhere in U.S. during state of emergency.
Circuit 6 Court has an administrative order permitting travel anywhere in U.S. during state of emergency for Hurricane Irma.
Circuit 7 Court has administrative order permitting travel anywhere in U.S. during state of emergency.
Circuit 8 Standard court order language permits in-state or out-of-state travel for up to 14 days without further court order.
Circuit 9 Court has an administrative order permitting travel anywhere in U.S. during state of emergency.
Circuit 10 Court has an administrative order permitting travel anywhere in U.S. during state of emergency.
Circuit 11 Court has an administrative order permitting travel anywhere in U.S. during state of emergency for Hurricane Irma.
Circuit 12 Court has an administrative order permitting travel anywhere in U.S. during state of emergency.
Circuit 13 Court has an administrative order permitting travel anywhere in U.S. during state of emergency for Hurricane Irma.
Circuit 14 Standard order language permits a caregiver to remove the child from the jurisdiction with the approval of DCF through the CBC.
Circuit 15 Court has an administrative order permitting travel anywhere in U.S. during state of emergency.
Circuit 16 Court has an administrative order permitting travel anywhere in U.S. during state of emergency.
Circuit 17 Court has an administrative order permitting travel anywhere in U.S. during state of emergency for Hurricane Irma.
Circuit 18 Court has an administrative order permitting travel anywhere in U.S. during state of emergency.
Circuit 19 Court has an administrative order permitting travel anywhere in U.S. during state of emergency.
Circuit 20 Court has an administrative order permitting travel anywhere in U.S. during state of emergency.  Order expires on September 22, 2017.

For a PDF of this memo, please click here. (Note, not all updates are reflected on PDF.)

 

 


FSFAPA Election Update – Ballots Mailed!

Posted September 5, 2017 by FloridaFAPA

Ballots for the 2017 FSFAPA Elections have been mailed to all paid, voting members. Election will be held at the October Quarterly Meeting.  If you cannot attend, please return your completed ballot per the instructions printed on the ballot.

Positions up for election:

Secretary: Nominees – Curtis Byrd & Christina Nunez. (Ballots to be tallied Oct. 14.)

Exec Vice President – uncontested: Chris Johnson retains position.

Vice President – uncontested: Orlando Avila retains position.

For more on how FSFAPA conducts elections, check out the bylaws page.

 


Live Blog from DCF Child Protection Summit in Orlando!

Posted August 28, 2017 by FloridaFAPA

Ever wonder what happens at DCF’s Annual Child Protection Summit? Tune in to our live blog of the event starting with a QPI “adjunct” session Monday prior to the Summit. (Aug. 28)


Proposal Adds Support for Pro-Bono Attorneys for Dependency Cases

Posted August 25, 2017 by FloridaFAPA

From the Florida Bar News:

The Florida Statewide Guardian ad Litem Program is supporting the “Pro Bono Matters Act of 2018,” newly filed legislation by Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, and Rep. Frank White, R-Pensacola.

The measures, SB 146 and HB 57, would help special-needs children in dependency court by giving more support to pro bono attorneys who want to help them.

Under the bill, the Justice Administrative Commission would provide pro bono attorneys due-process funding for costs associated with the representation.

“This bill is simple and makes good sense,” said White.

“The state already pays for due-process costs for special-needs children who are represented by state-funded attorneys on a registry. If we can encourage attorneys to take a case pro bono by paying for due-process costs, the state saves at least $1,000 per case.”

As part of its push to find attorneys to represent special-needs children pro bono, the GAL program is also working with The Florida Bar Foundation, which just launched a new website to match Floridians in need with attorneys who might take their cases on a volunteer basis.

Florida Bar Foundation CEO Bruce Blackwell said both the Foundation and the GAL program will gain by their partnership, with Bean’s bill as a catalyst.

“This bill will help the Foundation, through our new website, recruit dedicated attorneys to accept cases to provide holistic representation for children with special needs,” Blackwell said. “By removing barriers, such as costs associated with handling pro bono cases, volunteer attorneys can focus on providing critical legal services, which will benefit not only the youth, but their entire local community.”

“Guardian ad Litem’s collaboration with The Florida Bar Foundation’s ‘Pro Bono Matters’ initiative demonstrate some of the best of Florida’s child advocates: a focus on the unique needs of each child and the ability of public-private partnerships to meet those needs,” Bean said.

GAL Executive Director Alan Abramowitz said the collaboration would help his program locate pro bono attorneys for children within the 15-day window that Florida law permits.

“By creating a process to find a pro bono attorney within 15 days, this law will help us find more pro bono attorneys wanting to make a difference in the lives of children,” Abramowitz said.