The latest news about Florida State Foster/Adoptive Parent Association:
From Alan F. Abramowitz, Executive Director Statewide GAL office: Just wanted to share a new video created from the “Friends of Abused Children, Inc.” in Seminole County to highlight how important it is for youth to trust their foster parent and GAL. It highlights the need for foster parents and GAL’s. It discussed from youth’s view the need for trust and highlights the parenting for children in foster care. It always seems to have a bigger impact when its youth that explain how important GAL’s and foster parents are for youth. Special thanks to the Johnson Family and the Yancey Family and Friends of Abused Children, Inc. Our amazing narrator and volunteer GAL in the video is Michelle Brightman.
Posted by Florida FAPA on Friday, July 13, 2018
From Alan F. Abramowitz, Executive Director Statewide GAL office:
Just wanted to share a new video created from the “Friends of Abused Children, Inc.” in Seminole County to highlight how important it is for youth to trust their foster parent and GAL.
It highlights the need for foster parents and GAL’s. It discussed from youth’s view the need for trust and highlights the parenting for children in foster care.
It always seems to have a bigger impact when its youth that explain how important GAL’s and foster parents are for youth.
Special thanks to the Johnson Family (Editor’s NoteChris Johnson is FloridaFAPA’s Executive Vice President) and the Yancey Family and Friends of Abused Children, Inc. Our amazing narrator and volunteer GAL in the video is Michelle Brightman.
The Florida State Foster/Adoptive parent Association is now “FloridaFAPA.” That name has represented us online and on social media for years, and even served as shorthand got those that didn’t want to stumble through our formal name or spew a string of letters.
Earlier this year we embarked on a mission to streamline our organization and ensure we are spending our resources responsibly, and on things that support our members and mission.
At that point, it became clear: We’re going to be doing things a little different — to better represent our members. So it was time to break with the past, and unveil a new identity and a new brand.
The five principles of FloridaFAPA’s new strategic planning. There are workgroups for each, if you are interested in working with any of these groups, let us know!
Establish the direction of the organization, implement clear expectations for leaders and provide for accountability.
Ensure sufficient financial resources exist to fulfil the missions, goals and sustainability of the organization.
Build a clearinghouse of resources to support the needs of foster and adoptive families statewide.
Influence legislation that impacts our families and ensure that it is implemented appropriately
Develop and maintain strong partnerships within the child welfare community.
If you want to join the conversation, join us on Twitter, to just follow the updates, you can see them here!
Conference Schedule Released: CLICK HERE FOR PDF
See the Memo here DCF Memo on Caregiver Notice of Court Hearings (& Info Sheet JPG)
DCF’s Assistant Secretary for Child Welfare released the memo above on May 30. Below are excerpts from the accompanying email:
Florida completed its Child and Family Service Review (CFSR) in September 2016 and the Children’s Bureau issued the final report on December 28, 2016. One of the findings in the report was that Florida did not have a systematic method to notify caregivers of court hearings and their right to be heard in court. Florida has two years to implement the key activities and achieve the sustained level of performance as negotiated with the Children’s Bureau in Florida’s Program Improvement Plan (PIP). As part of the PIP, a statewide workgroup was created to address a systematic method to ensure that caregivers were notified of court hearings and their right to be heard at those hearings. The workgroup developed a one-page document that can be posted in offices and distributed to caregivers during ongoing home-visits conducted by case managers or child protective investigators prior to case transfer. The workgroup also recommended that the case manager or child protective investigator prior to case transfer provide written notice of the next court hearing to caregivers which could be a copy of the home visit form, or on the back of the business card of the child welfare professional providing the notice.
ACTION NEEDED: In order to effect practice improvement, it is critical for the regions and Community-based Care lead agencies (CBCs) to ensure that each caregiver is notified of court hearings and their right to be heard at those hearings.
The President and Treasurer positions are up for election this fall. The nomination form and position requirements/descriptions can be downloaded here (PDF).
Check the elections page on this site for updates!
(Note: Only paid members can vote in FSFAPA elections. To become a member or renew, please click here.)
We have added a “Dealing with Trauma” section to our resources page (replicated below) with links to PDFs provided via Sunshine Health. This page will be updated as additional resources are made available.
Message to FSFAPA From Sunshine Health VP Neiko Shea
In response to the horrific tragedy that occurred … at Stoneman Douglas High School, Sunshine Health would like to offer our support for your foster and adoptive parents who may have been impacted by this traumatic event.
Dealing with Trauma
- Helping Teens with Traumatic Grief (for Caregivers)
- Helping Youth After Community Violence (Tips for Educators) – useful for caregivers, too!
- Helping Children Cope with Death or Tragedy
(These links all permanently added to the FloridaFAPA.org Resource Page)
Family-Match, an adoption matching technology, presented by the Selfless Love Foundation, is launching a statewide initiative with CBC’s and providers to reduce the time to adoption placement and improve the quality of matches. With a compatibility assessment designed by the former lead researcher from eHarmony, approved families will get an unprecedented opportunity to be identified by child welfare workers across the state.
Prospective adoptive families can begin on boarding themselves (at no cost) starting on Feb 15th, case workers will be trained and begin registering children in May and June, and the matching functionality will be fully activated by Summer 2018.
For more information visit: selflesslovefoundation.org/family-match
A free camping / kayaking excursion weekend is planned for Fri. Feb. 16 – Sunday, Feb. 18 at Camp Anderson. Check out the link and explore the event video and registration. Paintball has been added to this event so bring an extra jacket for padding!
Boys only, ages 12-18 … don’t miss it!!!
WHEREAS, foster families provide a unique opportunity to impact children’s lives by providing care for children until they can be reunified with their families, or find a forever family; and
WHEREAS, children in foster care need and deserve a loving, supportive, nurturing, and quality
foster family; and
WHEREAS, approximately 5,272 foster families are currently licensed throughout the State of Florida; and
WHEREAS, the Governor’s Office of Adoption and Child Protection, Florida Department of Children and Families, community-based care lead agencies, Florida Foster and Adoptive Parent Association, state and local agencies, and communities join together to raise awareness of the need for quality foster families in Florida; and
WHEREAS, approximately 7,184 children in Florida live with foster families; and
WHEREAS, Florida Statutes designates the second week of February as Florida Foster Family Appreciation Week, to recognize the enduring and invaluable contributions foster parents provide to children in their care; and
WHEREAS, families and children across the great State of Florida will celebrate the impact that foster families have on children and families; and
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Rick Scott, Governor of the State of Florida, do hereby extend greetings and best wishes to all observing February 12-18, 2018, as Florida Foster Family Appreciation Week and encourage all Floridians to consider opening their hearts and homes to children in this state who Florida Foster Family Appreciation Week proclamation are in need of a quality foster family.
June 28 – July 1, 2018 | Orlando, Florida
Caribe Royale All-Suite Hotel and Conference Center
Join the National Foster Parent Association in partnership with the Florida State Foster and Adoptive Parent Association at our national learning conference for foster, kinship, and adoptive parents, and child welfare professionals.
Hotel reservations have gone go live! Daily hotel rates for the Caribe Royale All-Suite Hotel and Conference Center range from Queen Double – $129; Standard King – $129; King Deluxe – $149; Executive Suite – $329 and Villa Rates/Two bedroom villa – $229.
Listed below is a dedicated booking website that has been created for our event. Our guests will be able to make, modify and cancel their hotel reservations online, as well as take advantage of any room upgrades, amenities or other services offered by the hotel.
Reservations can also be made by contacting the hotel’s dedicated Group Reservations number directly at 1-888-258-7501 or the hotel’s main line at 407-238-8000. To receive the group rate, you must identify yourself as an attendee of the 2018 Foster Parent Conference at the time of booking.
The group link is listed below. This link does not require a group or attendee code to book. You only have to click on the dates and you will receive the contracted group rates. The site will reference additional hotel fees, these fees have been waived for our group.
The Fostering Success Program is a one year internship that provides paid, part time employment in a Florida state government agency making $10 per hour.
The internship is open to current or former foster youth ages 18 to 26. The program strives to support the intern in increasing their professional and lifeskills for future employment opportunities.
Openings now in the current internship year at four different agencies, and scheduling for training and internships starting July, 2018.
To learn more or to apply, email Abigail Phelps at Abigail.Phelps@MyFLFamilies.com
The latest memo can be found at our resource page or by clicking this link.
The adjustment is a result of a 2013 law that requires an annual adjustment of the foster care board rate equal to the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index.
[Tallahassee, Florida] – The Florida Guardian ad Litem Program has won a resounding legal victory in the United States Supreme Court – upholding the principle that a child’s best interests are paramount in contested paternity proceedings.
The victory came on Dec. 11, 2017, when the high court rejected the 11th-hour claims of a Florida man, M.L., who asserted he was the biological father of J.L., who was born addicted to cocaine in 2015. The Department of Children and Families had removed the newborn from his biological mother and soon placed him with the foster parents who want to adopt the child. On the eve of the termination of rights hearing, the father – who had previously shown little interest in the child – tried to prevent the court from making J.L. legally free for adoption by his foster parents. This would have had the effect of removing him from the family he has come to know as his own.
“The child’s parents had basically abandoned him,” said Guardian ad Litem Executive Director Alan Abramowitz. “But he was in a loving, stable foster home, and it was in his best interests to have a forever family.”
The Guardian ad Litem Program fought to prevent the last-minute disruption – all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
At J.L.’s shelter hearing in January 2015, DCF advised the court the mother was married, but estranged from her husband, who had no interest in the child. The mother identified M.L. as the biological father. He later claimed to have been present at J.L.’s birth and was named on the birth certificate. However, under Florida law, the mother’s husband was J.L.’s legal father.
Court records show that the mother, husband and M.L. all attended a subsequent hearing, and M.L. was advised on how to establish paternity. The mother, her husband and M.L. were referred for DNA testing in March 2015. Yet M.L. “waited a year and a half to establish his paternity, until after DCF filed its termination petition, and he still did not have DNA confirmation that he was the child’s biological father.” M.L. v. Dep’t of Children & Fams., 227 So. 3d 142, 146 (Fla. 4th DCA 2017).
Despite M.L.’s lengthy delay, the trial court entertained his emergency motion to intervene and to stay the pending termination trial. After the court denied the motion, it still permitted M.L. to file an amended motion to intervene. The court even continued the trial, admonishing the parties to complete anything they needed to prior to the trial. The court heard and denied M.L.’s amended motion, conducted the termination trial, and entered an order terminating the rights of the mother and her husband.
GAL was the lone voice fighting for the child. On Monday, the high court declined to review a ruling by the Fourth District Court of Appeal that M.L. had waited too long to assert his rights.
“I was thrilled to advocate in the United States Supreme Court for the legal rights of this child,” said GAL appellate attorney Thomasina Moore. “He’s been scheduled to be adopted, and it’s been postponed. The court’s ruling affirms that children’s interests must come first in dependency proceedings.”
Thanks to the high court ruling, J.L.’s adoption was finalized on Friday, Dec. 15, 2017.
Release by Florida GAL; contact Margie Menzel (850) 922-7287 for more information.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.