The latest news about Florida State Foster/Adoptive Parent Association:
|November 23 is National Adoption Day|
At a recent meeting of the Florida Cabinet, Governor DeSantis presented a resolution declaring November 2019 as National Adoption Month in Florida.
Throughout the month, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) will participate in the “30 Days of Amazing Children” online campaign, sharing stories from some of the 800+ Florida children who are currently waiting to be adopted.
Then, on November 23, National Adoption Day, families throughout Florida and across the nation will come together and celebrate the joy of adoption.
“I know that Florida is filled with good, selfless people who are capable of bringing deserving children into their homes. In fact, this past year, more than 4,500 children were adopted across the state,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.
“I’m proud to support National Adoption Month and continue to bring awareness to this important cause that is improving and enriching so many lives.”“As a mother, it breaks my heart to think of all the children who don’t have the love and support that parents should provide,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis.
“During National Adoption Month, I’m lending my voice to promote adoption and advocate for all of Florida’s children, ensuring they have a nurturing presence in their lives that will allow them to reach their full potential.”
“Governor DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis have been tireless advocates for the work we do at DCF. I’m thankful that they are recognizing National Adoption Month and supporting our statewide effort to connect children with their forever families,” said DCF Secretary Chad Poppell.
“All children deserve a safe, loving home, where they are free from abuse and neglect, and right now, many don’t have that. I encourage all Floridians who are able and willing to adopt to please consider making that life-changing decision.”
The online campaign, “30 Days of Amazing Children” will feature pictures of and stories of children available for adoption and information about the kind of family they hope to join one day. Many of them are teens, sibling groups and children with special needs who have been in the child welfare system for an extended period of time.To learn more about Florida Adoption Month and to view children available for adoption, please visit adoptflorida.org.
Christina Morris won the FloridaFAPA election for Secretary, beating incumbent Curtis Byrd. Her term will begin Jan. 1. (Election was held at the November Quarterly Meeting/Mini Conference, with mail-in ballots and in-person ballots collected.)
*** NOMINATIONS HAVE CLOSED ***
Secretary: Curtis Byrd & Christine Morris
Internal VP: Orlando Avila
*** NOMINATIONS HAVE CLOSED ***
The positions of Secretary and Internal Vice President are up for election this year. The position requirements and descriptions are below (and on the downloadable nomination form.)
Nomination Process 2019
Responsibilities of all members of the Board of Directors
• Attend all meetings, face to face or conference call of the Board unless previously excused by the President.
• Participate in the planning, facilitation and implementation of all events supported by FloridaFAPA.
• The Board of Directors is empowered to act for the organization as a whole.
• The Board cannot delegate its decision-making authority to a portion of the membership.
• Each member of the Executive Board will be delegated specific duties to oversee and support
• Interprets and enforces the provisions of the bylaws as well as the Policy and Procedure Manual.
• Promote by attitude and action, needed to bring about changes and improvements in the child welfare system of care.
• Provide a vehicle for communication between Florida FAPA members, the Community Based Care agencies, Department of Children and Families and other partners in the system of care in Florida.
• Act as an information center and research body regarding matters of resources, finances, education and legislation for our members and partners statewide.
New board members participate in orientation and training, so they can represent and govern the organization. Training sessions shall be held at least annually.
A Board leadership manual shall be provided to new board members and updated annually for the full board.
At a minimum, the manual and orientation shall include the following:
• Articles of Incorporation
• Policy Manual
• Annual Budget
• Annual Calendar
• Organizational Chart
• Roster of Volunteer Leaders and Staff
• Recent Minutes
Duties of the Secretary
• Record the minutes of all Florida FAPA meetings (i.e. specifically Executive Board Meetings, Board of Director Meetings, Membership and President Council meetings and other meetings as requested)
• Draft meetings within 10 working days of the meetings and send to all board members
• Maintain current and accurate copies of all organizational documents (i.e. minutes, by laws, policies and procedures, treasurer reports, etc.)
• Send a calendar invite of the time and place of each meeting to each member of the board at least thirty days prior to meetings
• Responsible for the publication of newsletters, membership, parliamentarian procedure, bylaws and electronic communication with the assistance of External VP, assigned Ambassadors and entire board
• May oversee a CBC, DCF region and local FAPA contact. If assigned they will establish a relationship with DCF regional Administration, CBC CEO and FAPA board at least monthly.
Duties of the Internal Vice President
• Assume responsibilities of president in the absence of the president
• Upon request help organize events as deemed necessary
• Coordinate and oversee the duties of Ambassadors of Conferences, Board Education, Strategic Planning
• May oversee a CBC, DCF region and local FAPA contact. If assigned they will establish a relationship with DCF regional Administration, CBC CEO and FAPA board at least monthly
Nomination Form Instructions
• Nominations are made to the Nominations Chair prior to the June quarterly general membership meeting of FloridaFAPA. At this meeting nominations may also be made from the floor. Once the meeting is adjourned, nominations are closed.
• For the nominations to be accepted, the nominees must be Partner members of FloridaFAPA for one year with a record of at least 50% attendance at Florida FAPA’s quarterly membership meetings, have served on a Florida FAPA committee for one year and/or the same household currently serving on the Board of Directors.
• Must be a Partner member and dues paid by January 1st in order to be nominated. If the nominee is elected to the office of Florida FAPA President, they may not be president of any other local FAPA at the start of their term.
• Within 30 days of accepting the nomination the candidate must present to the nomination chair a letter of recommendation from the CBC, copy of current foster care license or final judgment of permanency.
• In case of a sole nominee, he/she can be elected by acclamation by the Board of Directors.
• Name of nominee contact information
• Name of person doing the nominating (you may nominate yourself)
• Reason for nominating this person.
What to Include:
• Within 30 days of accepting the nomination the candidate must present a letter from their agency stating they are a licensed foster or adoptive parent in good standing with their agency and are of high moral conduct. This letter will be required each time a candidate in nominated.
• A personal biography
• Nominations are made to the Nominations Chair prior to the June quarterly general membership meeting of Florida FAPA. At this meeting nominations may also be made from the floor. Once the meeting is adjourned, nominations are closed
The North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) is a partner in CHAMPS (children need amazing parents). CHAMPS is collecting stories for National Foster Parent Appreciation Day and we’re reaching out to ask for your help spreading the word. Please see below for more information and share with foster parents and people in or formerly in care. Let us know if you have any questions. Thank you for your help with this project!
CHAMPS (children need amazing parents) is celebrating National Foster Parent Appreciation Day (May 31) by sharing stories from foster parents and people who have been in foster care.
Selected stories will be shared on social media, on the CHAMPS website, and with policymakers. NACAC is a partner in CHAMPS, seeking to ensure foster parents’ voices are heard. Stories can be written (a short paragraph with a photo) or a short video (30-60 seconds, can be made with a phone).
Please submit by April 30. What kind of stories?
Here are some ideas to get you started. If you’re a foster parent:
|For Immediate Release: |
February 12, 2019
Recognizing Community Partners and Families
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Governor Ron DeSantis proclaimed the second week of February as Florida Foster Family Appreciation Week, observed on February 11-15, 2019, to celebrate the enduring and invaluable contributions foster families provide to children in their care.
First Lady Casey DeSantis said, “Our state is blessed for the contribution of foster parents and the families they create. Whether a foster family is together for a short period of time or longer, the impact of the relationship is forever. As a mother, I am truly grateful for those who create a loving and nurturing environment for children and encourage all Floridians to find a way to help build and rebuild families in their own communities.”
“I applaud Florida’s foster families and every individual who plays a part in the fostering process as they help to change the life of a child in their community,” said Department of Children and Families (DCF) Secretary Chad Poppell. “It is difficult for us to imagine what a child must feel during such a difficult time, but a foster parent can change a child’s heart by providing the love, joy, and security they want and need.”
Florida currently has 7,287 children who live with foster families. Foster parents provide a supportive, safe, and loving home to children who have been removed from their homes. Foster parents serve as role models, not only to the child, but also to biological parents.
“Our foster parents play a vital role in the lives of the children we serve. They provide love and nurturing until we can place a child in a safe and permanent home,” said Florida Coalition for Children CEO Kurt Kelly. “It’s important that we honor them while also recognizing that we still have a critical need for more foster parents in our communities.”
The positive partnerships DCF shares with parents, foster families, community-based care agencies, non-profit organizations, state agencies, and the courts are essential. Each one plays a valuable role that makes a solid foundation of resources for children in foster care and the families who support them.
There are 5,358 licensed foster parents in Florida who selflessly play a pivotal role in the lives of the most vulnerable children. During Foster Family Appreciation Week, join us in making a difference where it really matters and consider becoming a foster family to a child in your community. The need for foster families never ends.
Please visit http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/service-programs/foster-care/.
Media Contact: DCF Communications, (850) 717-4450
Some helpful links about what is going on with Medicaid (collected and shared by Heather Rosenberg):
Links you may find important or useful:
1. State Plan: http://ahca.myflorida.com/medicaid/stateplan.shtml
3. Model Contract and Child Welfare Specific: http://ahca.myflorida.com/medicaid/review/specific_policy.shtml?fbclid=IwAR1arn56a5lSWKfa9mam3207I29zF5FKIpDeB5mH40MkjalxlJj2VUPHi7M
o Sunshine Info. Page and Member Handbook: https://www.sunshinehealth.com/members/child-welfare-plan.html?fbclid=IwAR3mw6z5_PiHpYnyLfoi-FswVNuLFsqN5C-NljGu6PqdnOQmR96nCbDpw6I
4. AHCA Power Point – new contracts: https://www.sunshinehealth.com/members/child-welfare-plan.html?fbclid=IwAR1kC5At8nCKZ9APLTjuIDKnFMjGenIht6gsJ7BrOHjp-VQ_gqqd9LWzeTY
5. CBCIH website: http://www.cbcih.net/
6. Medicaid Services:a. MMA Covered Services – all plans (Page 3): http://www.fdhc.state.fl.us/medicaid/statewide_mc/pdf/Contracts/2018-08-01/MODEL_Attachment-I_2018-08-01.pdf?fbclid=IwAR01SG7QZVs1YiKjY2ZAeS-0r4M6kut3opVdgo5f6O-9PpCOODZB3VTBc2Ab. Expanded Benefits by plan (new contracts): http://www.fdhc.state.fl.us/medicaid/statewide_mc/pdf/mma/EB_Chart_Revised_101618.pdf?fbclid=IwAR2gtkeFFo24_AmFVHIglDDNT9V0LTGCGWGT_GDE-owbwqZ5cND_gsy6dmY
• Phase in by county: http://www.fdhc.state.fl.us/medicaid/statewide_mc/pdf/mma/Expanded-Benefits_Program_Highlight_Final_101618.pdf?fbclid=IwAR32u6YATRgLD9AGcNm_L41kdThVGXDY51SfEOSpFZYeRbiLN5NjGPdpqrA
From our friends at the Florida Guardian Ad Litem Program:
We’ve got some great video & radio for National Adoption Month that we’re hoping you’ll post for your followers.
There is a video, “The Power of Adoption,” that is 6:15 long. Here is the link:
And there is an excellent call-in show on adoption on WFSU-FM, followed by a feature story that includes the same voices. Here are the links:
Perspectives: Adoption From All Sides
Adoption Awareness Month: Building Strong Foster and Adoptive Families
Follow this link to set your smile.amazon.com account to support FloridaFAPA … and we’ll get 10 times the regular benefit (5%) until Nov. 2 (back to .5% of each purchase after that time frame.)
The Florida Coalition for Children has set up an Amazon Wishlist to allow people to donate directly to Hurricane Michael victims.
Per Victoria Vangalis Zepp, Florida Coalition for Children’s EVP & Chief Policy and Research Officer, “Purchases will be shipped to FCC and we’ll either move to the warehouse or our teams can pick up from there (for distribution.)”
FloridaFAPA’s election results are in, and Amanda Williams will lead the organization as President starting on Jan. 1, 2019.
Amanda has been a foster parent for the last 7 years in Gainesville. She has served on the FloridaFAPA board as regional vice president, independent living chair and has led the teen programs at our conferences for the last few years. She is also a past president of the Alachua County Foster and Adoptive Parent Association.
A core part of FloridaFAPA’s mission is to support foster and adoptive families in Florida, and in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael many of our families in the Panhandle are in need.
Donations to FloridaFAPA will be used to support these foster and adoptive families through direct support, assistance in locating/coordinating services and other needs as we become aware of them. We will also use these resources to support our member foster/adoptive parent associations in this region so that they may also better support the foster and adoptive families in their service areas.
Check back to this site and our Facebook Page for updates.
FloridaFAPA (formerly The Florida State Foster/Adoptive Parent Association) is a 501(c)3 volunteer organization established in 1987 to address the needs of foster and adoptive families in Florida.
(Miami, FL – Oct. 3, 2018) – The Board of Trustees for Our Kids of Miami-Dade/Monroe, Inc. (Our Kids) announced that Michael C. Williams has been appointed President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the agency, effective immediately; erasing “interim” from his title after just over a month.
Mr. Williams had been serving as Our Kids’ Interim President and CEO following the tragic and untimely passing of former CEO George H. Sheldon. Mr. Sheldon, who joined Our Kids in June 2017, handpicked Mr. Williams to fill the then-vacant role of Chief Operating Officer back in October 2017.
“We have had the opportunity to get to know Michael first-hand for a year now; and it is clear to see why George was so set on hiring Michael last year. Michael is undoubtedly committed to protecting and advocating for all children and families – a quality that is invaluable to everyone at our agency,” said Kate Callahan, Chair of the Board of Trustees for Our Kids. “His knowledge of the child welfare system along with his professional experience make him the ideal person to lead our agency as we mourn the loss of George Sheldon, and beyond.”
Prior to joining Our Kids, Mr. Williams was serving as the Deputy Commissioner of Operations for Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families where he was known as an innovator. A progressive leader, Mr. Williams has led system change efforts to meet children’s needs while simultaneously obtaining full community participation. With over 20 years of child welfare experience, Mr. Williams not only understands the intricacies of child welfare and behavioral health systems, he has a proven track record of creating culturally competent service systems that meet the needs of children and their families.
“I am very grateful and excited for the opportunity to lead this agency as we approach the final stages of procuring a five-year lead agency contract with the Department; and look forward to building on the successes we have already seen from the implementation of our 2018-2021 Strategic Plan and furthering our goal of ensuring that all children grow up in safe, loving, nurturing, and permanent families,” concluded Mr. Williams.
About Our Kids of Miami-Dade and Monroe, Inc.:
Incorporated in 2002, Our Kids is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation created in response to the need for local leadership, oversight and coordination of the foster care system. As the non-profit lead agency for community based care in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, Our Kids oversees and directs a coordinated system of care that provides crucial services to abused, abandoned, and neglected children in the community. Our Kids’ mission is to create safe havens for these children and their families through adoption, foster/kindship care, and other related services.
Deputy DCF Secretary David Fairbanks issued a letter to all foster parents regarding recent events, including the request for foster parent records by the Sarasota Herald Tribune. The text of the letter is below:
September 11, 2018
The Department of Children and Families (DCF) is committed to ensuring the safety of all children, especially those involved in the child welfare system. The department’s most valued partners are the wonderful people who make the choice to bring a child into their homes and their hearts, with an understanding of the high levels of trust and responsibility that are being placed upon them.
It is with deep sorrow that I must inform you that a foster parent was injured in a horrific attack last month by a biological parent of children in her care. As our most valued partners in child welfare, we too understand the level of trust that foster parents across the state place with the department when it relates to protecting their personal information and I can assure you that no information about this foster parent was released by DCF.
As many of you are aware, a public records request was recently submitted to the DCF Office of Communications by the Sarasota Herald Tribune for a list of names for all licensed foster parents and corresponding counties. Our office worked closely with DCF’s legal counsel and the newspaper to explain the type of information being requested and how this could affect the states’ licensed foster parents.
Because we are unable to ensure that the release of this information will not jeopardize the safety of foster parents or the children in their care, DCF will not be releasing any information regarding foster parents in Florida. Also, we will seek legislative action during the upcoming legislative session to put further protections in place for Florida’s foster parents. This legislative action will balance the need for transparency to ensure accountability within Florida’s foster system while still allowing the department to protect the safety of children, which is always our number one priority.
As you are aware, foster parent’s identifying information in the wrong hands can lead to unsafe situations for foster parents and the children in their care. The State of Florida remains committed to protecting foster parents and will continue our fight to keep their information confidential.
David L. Fairbanks
Department of Children and Families
FloridaFAPA Executive Director Trudy Petkovich said, “DCF has informed us that they expect some fall out from not honoring the records request, but we fully support their effort to stand up for our caregivers and the children in their homes.”
FloridaFAPA is joining DCF and others in urging the legislature to strengthen the language protecting our families and records pertaining to those homes. Our goal is to have these records gain protection (public record exemption) under Chapter 119 of Florida Statutes in the next legislative session.
In light of recent events (public records request, foster parent attacked) FloridaFAPA’s board has released this statement:
FloridaFAPA believes that Foster parents should be afforded high levels of protection, as they are crucial to the safety of our most vulnerable children. We are working with the Governor and Legislature to ensure protections increase in the near future.