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

2017 Awards Nominations Open

Posted April 25, 2017 by FloridaFAPA
Florida State Foster/Adoptive Parent Association 2017 Awards Nominations
Nominations must be received by May 1, 2017
Caring Hearts Award – to honor a licensed foster family for quality service to children, exemplary partnership with the system of care and dedication to children and their families, who are involved in the foster care system.
Forever Hearts Award – to honor an adoptive family that represents the very best in Florida by providing permanency and a loving family to children in care, with specific attention to special needs, siblings, maintaining connections, and supporting and mentoring other adoptive families.
Kinship Caregiver Award – to honor a kinship caregiver for quality care given to children of family who have found themselves in need of a stable loving environment.  Note: this may include non-blood related “kin”.
Partner in Caring Award – to honor a worker or partner (case manager, licensing/placement, Independent Living, GAL) who embodies partnership and collaboration with foster parents and the families served.
Rising Star Award – to honor a youth for progress and positive gains, goal setting and accomplishments either academically, socially, mentoring other youth, and personal achievements
Leadership through Example Award – to honor a CBC for demonstrating their commitment to children, families and foster parents through positive actions intended to strengthen partnerships and create a culture of caring through the system of care.
Please provide information about EACH of the following 6 items:
  1. Award Category
  2. Name and Address of nominee(s)
  3. Agency and Address of CBC and/or Licensing Agency
  4. Name of person submitting this nomination and best way to contact (phone/email)
  5. A description (qualities, actions, characteristics, behaviors) of how your nominee meets the criteria for the selected award
  6. Will your agency cover travel expenses for your nominee to receive this award at the annual
FSFAPA Conference in Orlando June 16-18?
Submit to Gay Frizzell, Quality Parenting Initiative (QPI) Advisor at:

Accepting Nominations for EVP, VP & Secretary

Posted April 12, 2017 by FloridaFAPA

Florida State Foster Adoptive Parent Association is now accepting nominations for Executive Vice President, Vice President and Secretary. Nomination forms and a detailed description of position requirements and responsibilities are attached here or please feel free to contact the Nominations Chair, Dr. Thomas Croom for additional information.

To download the nomination forms, including duties of each position, click here.

Conference Scholarship Opportunity

Posted February 28, 2017 by FloridaFAPA

Deadline: May 5, 2017

• Are you an adoptive, kinship/relative or non-relative caregiver/parent?
• Are you no longer licensed as a foster parent?
• Do your children still live in your home?

If you answer “YES” to these questions, we have a scholarship opportunity for you!

FSFAPA is awarding scholarships for families to attend the Annual Education Conference “Our Journey, Your Dreams”. The scholarship will include registrations for your family as well as your hotel reservations for two nights.

If you are interested, please complete the online Conference Registration and in the box for payment indicate this is for the Adoptive/Kinship Scholarship. Once your registration is received we will contact you to provide 50-100 words on why you want to attend the conference this year with your family.

All applicants must or will be, 2017 dues paid members of FSFAPA.

Any questions, please contact Trudy Petkovich, or 305-213-6627.

Duprey Adoptive Parent Survey 2017

Posted February 25, 2017 by FloridaFAPA-sec
Hello Everyone,

Below you will find a link to a survey.  We have been ask to forward this to our members.  Please read and if interested please take the survey.

            My name is Ryan Duprey, and I am a doctoral candidate at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, TN.  I am in the process of completing my dissertation study focusing on adoptive parents, and would like your help in furthering adoption research.  Your participation in this study may benefit future adoptive parents, adoption agencies looking to place children, as well as the mental health providers who support adoptive parents!  The survey is not long, and can be completed in about 15 minutes.
This study focuses on adoptive parents who:
Have adopted from foster care
Are currently married
Have children between the ages of 3 and 15 years old
As an incentive to complete this study, you can choose to be entered into a drawing for one of four $25 VISA gift cards!
If you are interested in participating in this study, please click on the hyperlink below and it will take you to a Survey Monkey® website.  Survey Monkey® is a secure website with many layers of encryption to protect your answers to these questions.  While this study may ask about the make-up of your family, it will NOT ASK ANY PERSONAL INFORMATION, such as your name, address, etc.
Thank you for your participation!
Ryan Duprey, LMFT
Trevecca Nazarene University
Nashville, TN

Sunshine Health offers Trauma Informed Care Courses

Posted January 29, 2017 by FloridaFAPA

Graham Perkovich of Sunshine Health shared that they are holding Trauma Informed Care (TIC) online trainings.  The trainings are live webinars in the evenings, (register on the links below) and then enjoy some great evening trainings!  All trainings are at no cost, and all participants will receive a certificate of attendance, within 5 business days.

Trauma Informed Care (TIC) training dates:

TIC part 2            January 31, 2017 from 7:00 PM- 8:30 Eastern Time

TIC part 3             February 13, 2017 from 7:00 PM- 8:30 Eastern Time

TIC part 4             February 27, 2017 from 7:00 PM- 8:30 Eastern Time

TIC part 5             March 13, 2017 from 7:00 PM- 8:30 Eastern Time

FCC’s Rally in Tally Schedule Released

Posted December 29, 2016 by FloridaFAPA

Join the Florida Coalition for Children Foundation in advocating on behalf of  Florida’s abused, abandoned, neglected and at-risk children at Rally in Tally!

Register Now

(See FSFAPA’s event page for Rally in Tally for additional updates)

Rally in Tally is dedicated to educating our foster youth, families, and child welfare workers on advocating for their needs with Florida’s lawmakers. We want to offer our advocates, especially our youth, the opportunity to meet one-on-one with legislators and share their stories and experiences. As part of the child welfare system, they bring awareness to the issues facing the system each day across the state.

This year, we will offer our members the opportunity to take one of two workshops: Advocacy 101, geared toward our youth and families or those who are new to the legislative process; and Advocacy 102, focused on refreshing those who have advocated previously and who are leading discussions on the Coalition’s legislative priorities.

Event Timeline:

Monday, January 9

6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. CEO Cocktail Reception DoubleTree

An informal opportunity to network and discuss the upcoming event, the cocktail reception will feature light hors d’oeuvres, beer, and wine. Legislators are invited to attend.

Tuesday, January 10

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Event TBA

Lunch – On Your Own

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Registration City Hall
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Workshops – Advocacy 101 and 102 City Hall

Advocacy 101 – All foster and adopted youth, families, and staff are invited to attend this workshop focused on introducing participants to the legislative process, advocating on behalf of the child welfare system and etiquette.
Advocacy 102 – All CEOs, lobbyists and executives are invited to attend this workshop focused on the Coalition’s legislative priorities and advocacy efforts for the 2017 Legislative Session.

5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Pizza Party Fire Betty’s Arcade Bar

Camp Warrior and the Florida Coalition for Children Foundation invite all Rally in Tally attendees to join us for an Old Fashioned Pizza Party at Fire Betty’s Arcade Bar! Food, Drinks, and Arcade Tokens will be provided!

Wednesday, January 11

7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Legislative Kick-Off Breakfast Capitol Building, 22nd Floor

Join us as we kick off the 2017 Legislative Session and hear from some of child welfare’s leading legislative advocates, and a special appearance by All-American and former Florida State Seminole, Corey Simon!

10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Meetings with Legislators Capitol Building

The Florida Coalition for Children Foundation encourages you to meet with legislators during this time, for more information on how to schedule those meetings, please click here

Participating is easy…

  1. Register for the Event!
    Your payment of $60/person; or $100/Foster Family can be made online with your registration. All registrations are final and refunds will not be given. Only substitutions or transfers will be allowed.
  2. Reserve Your Hotel Room!
    This year Rally in Tally has partnered with two Hilton properties in Tallahassee to offer our participants a discounted group rate:
    • DoubleTree offers both 1- and 2-bed Guest Rooms, and is located just 2 blocks from Kleman Plaza. The group rate they are offering Rally in Tally registrants is $169/night. You can reserve your room with DoubleTree (link coming soon).
    • You can reserve your room with DoubleTree online, or by calling 877-800-2652 (be sure to reference group code “Rally in Tally”).
    • Home 2 Suites offers both 1-Queen and 2-Queen Suites, and is located less than 1.5 mi from Kleman Plaza. The group rate they are offering Rally in Tally registrants is $119/night.
    • You can reserve your room with Home2Suites online, or by calling 850-402-8900 (be sure to reference group code “Rally in Tally”).
  3. Contact Legislators to Schedule Meetings!
    Click here to learn more about scheduling meetings with your local representatives.

Lawmakers consider therapy dogs, other benefits for foster children

Posted December 29, 2016 by FloridaFAPA

Click to see original story on News4Jax website.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Therapy dogs in court and free family access to state parks are among provisions pending before the Florida Legislature next year to help foster children.

Alan Abramowitz

Alan Abromowitz, executive director for the state’s guardian ad litem program, said he thinks having dogs with children who have to go through the justice system will be helpful.

“It makes a big difference in kids being able to testify,” Abromowitz said. “The courts love it, but most important, it reduces trauma.”

State Sen. Aaron Bean sponsored two of three proposed bills next session aimed at helping those in the state’s foster-care system to grow and thrive.

Bean calls the state park fee waiver a win-win.

“It’s a small token to say, ‘Thank you,'” Bean said. “We know going to a park is a great way to bond with your family.”

Bean is also supporting helping foster families with expenses when the children turn 15 and qualify to start driving.

“I have a driver in my household, and it increases your insurance. It increases the wear and tear on a vehicle,” Bean said.

Abromowitz said this bill, called the Keys to Independence Act, is already in use for select families and he’s hopeful it will gain statewide traction.

“It was pilot, and we want to make it permanent, and Aaron Bean is a champion for kids, so we’re excited about him taking on these two issues,” Abromowitz said.

The 2017 legislative session begins March 7.

Copyright 2016 by WJXT News4Jax – All rights reserved.

Center for Child Welfare Shares First-Hand ‘Normalcy’ Video

Posted December 9, 2016 by FloridaFAPA

Visit the Center’s YouTube channel for more videos and “Just in Time Training.”


2016-10-15 General Membership Mtg

Posted October 21, 2016 by FloridaFAPA

Membership Meeting Minutes

Mulberry, Fl.

October 15, 2016

Type of Meeting: Quarterly Membership Meeting

Meeting Called to Order by Harriett Wynn, President

A motion to approve the minutes from 9/08/2016 with changes if needed was made by Charles Parker.  Seconded by Dorothy Alvarez, with no further discussion a vote was called.  Motion Carried

The attendees were given a detailed layout of the new RVP’s organizational chart.

Chris Purche – discussed fire safety, explained the difference between types of extinguishers and the fires they extinguish. Monthly inspection is important. Smoke detectors over 10 years old should be replaced.

Sabrina Gonzales- talked about teens aging out of the system and the effect of life in foster care is affecting young adults.

At 11:30am all remaining ballots from members at the meeting were collected.  Curtis asked for two volunteers, Linda Gauntt and Ennis Clements volunteered.   Ballots were opened and sorted and counted by Linda and Ennis.  Curtis and Trudy separately tallied the counts three times to be sure all the numbers agreed.  The election results were announced to the general membership.

President Harriett Wynn and Treasurer Denise Sasiain.  The other nominees were thanked for participating in the election process.

Trish Allen – discussed Normalcy and how it impacts our children.

Jonathan – explained the partnership between All Pro Dads and DCF to recruit new foster parents and bring about awareness around the state.

A motion was made by Dorothy Alvarez to adjourn the meeting, it was seconded.     With no discussion a vote was called for. Motion Carried  



Respectfully Submitted by Curtis Byrd Secretary

Florida’s GAL Program Receives $250,000 Grant

Posted October 19, 2016 by FloridaFAPA
[Tallahassee, Florida] – Alan Abramowitz, Executive Director of the Statewide Guardian ad Litem office, announced today that the Florida Guardian ad Litem(GAL) Program will receive a 2016 National Court Appointed Special Advocate (National CASA) Association State Growth Grant in the amount of $250,000.
The purpose of the 2016 National CASA Association State Growth Grant is to support statewide initiatives to significantly increase the number of CASA/GAL volunteers who advocate for Florida’s abused and neglected children in the foster care system that have experienced abuse or neglect. National CASA’s vision is that every abused or neglected child is given the opportunity to thrive in a safe and loving home and this investment in Florida’s program helps to move closer to that vision. 
Alan Abromowitz

Alan Abromowitz

With the National CASA State Growth Grant, the Florida GAL Program will relaunch the “I am for the Child” campaign – statewide; in each of its twenty local programs; in every community; and in every city. “Over the past nine months we have worked very closely with the National CASA Association in preparing the Florida GAL Program for the relaunch of the “I am for the Child” campaign. The simple yet powerful statement – I am for the Child – supports the mission of the Florida GAL Program and informs everything we do. We look forward to more volunteers joining us in our efforts to be a voice for all of Florida’s abused and neglected children. We are grateful to National CASA for this incredible opportunity to share our mutual vision in a coordinated way across the state,” said Alan Abramowitz.

“Volunteer Florida congratulates Florida Guardian ad Litem for securing this grant to serve more at-risk young people in Florida,” said Chester W. Spellman, CEO of Volunteer Florida. “We look forward to working with GAL to encourage Floridians to volunteer with GAL and demonstrate that our state is ‘For the Child.’”
In 2011, National CASA launched the “I am for the Child” campaign with print, web and social media. Through materials and support from National CASA, states across the nation supported and promoted the “I am for the Child” campaign to grow their volunteer base and expand their services to more of America’s most vulnerable children. Florida, via its statewide program and its twenty local programs, also embraced the campaign that resulted in substantial volunteer growth. That growth has continued over the last four years. In fact, the Florida Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program has over 10,000 volunteers giving a voice to Florida’s abused and neglected children.
“The Florida GAL Program’s track record of growth and plan to serve more children with the “I am for the Child” campaign made them a clear choice for National CASA’s largest grant award,” said National CASA Chief Executive Officer Tara Perry. “The continuous growth of our volunteer base is a critical element of National CASA’s goal to serve every child in foster care or court system who has experienced abuse or neglect nationwide. Florida is a strong partner in our work to ensure that every one of these children has a trained and caring volunteer advocating on his or her behalf rather than going it alone in the system.”
To learn more about the Guardian ad Litem Program or to become a volunteer visit or call 1-866-341-1GAL.

Election Results: Sasiain & Wynn Win

Posted October 15, 2016 by FloridaFAPA

FSFAPA’s election results are in:

Harriett Wynn will be returning as President

Denise Sasiain will be assuming the position of Treasurer

Congratulation to both

Hurricane Matthew Forces Mini Conference to be rescheduled

Posted October 5, 2016 by FloridaFAPA



FSFAPA Quarterly Membership Meeting /Mini Conference

Segur named Eckerd Kids ‘Director of the Year’

Posted September 25, 2016 by FloridaFAPA
Laurallyn Segur

Laurallyn Segur

Laurallyn Segur, Director of Licensing for Eckerd Community Alternatives Pinellas-Pasco (Circuit 6 CBC) and the CBC Liaison for FSFAPA, was recently named Director of the Year at Eckerd Kids annual director’s retreat.

During the same retreat, ECA Pinellas-Pasco was also honored by being named Program of the Year.

Congratulations to Laurallyn on her much deserved award and to all of ECA for being named the Program of the Year.

Update from Step Up For Students

Posted September 1, 2016 by FloridaFAPA

Below is the recent newsletter from Step Up For Students, who oversee the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (for low-income families with K-12 schoolchildren) and the Gardiner Scholarship (for families with PreK-12 schoolchildren with certain special needs) — among other things.

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Summer 2016 Quarterly Newsletter

Dear Partner,

The 2016-17 school year has officially kicked off and we’re excited to announce Step Up For Students is already having its biggest year yet. Enrollment isn’t even complete and we already have about 91,500 Florida Tax Credit students enrolled into the schools of their choice. Another 5,800 Gardiner Scholarships have been awarded, and the applications for both scholarships keep rolling in. We expect to have a combined total of more than 100,000 Florida students using one of Step Up’s scholarships this year. 

“We’re elated to be able to offer learning options to this many Florida students who need it most,” said Step Up For Students President Doug Tuthill.

Each one of these scholars has an amazing story to tell. And many will be able to look back after they graduate from high school, like Lacey Nowling, who graduated in 2015 from Faith Christian Academy in Jay, Fla., and have wonderful tales to tell about college and beyond.

This wouldn’t be possible without our parents who want more for their children, the teachers who guide them, the donors who make it all possible, and our community’s support. Thanks to each and every one of you, we’re confident that the 2016-17 school year will be one of excitement and success. We look forward to sharing the journey with you, and once again, we thank you for your unwavering support.

Please enjoy the stories in this quarterly newsletter.


Your friends at Step Up For Students

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New Year Kicks Off
With the final Florida schools kicking off the 2016-17 school year in the coming days, Step Up For Students team members have been busily working on applications for both the Florida Tax Credit (income-based) scholarship and the Gardiner Scholarship for children with certain special needs.

For the income-based scholarship, Step Up expects to have more than 92,000 students enrolled for the new year, and another several thousand more using the Gardiner to customize their learning.

Click here to learn more.

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Lawsuit Dismissed
A unanimous three-judge panel dismissed a lawsuit challenging the nation’s largest private school choice program on August 16.

The First District Court of Appeal ruled the statewide teachers union and other groups did not have legal standing to challenge Florida tax credit scholarships because they “failed to allege any concrete harm whatsoever” caused by the program, which is expected to provide scholarships to more than 90,000 low-income children in the coming school year.

Click here for additional court ruling details.

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Student Spotlight
As early as sixth grade, Lacey Nowling knew her love for children was calling her to become a pediatrician.

Living in the tiny town of Jay, Fla., in the far northwestern reaches of the panhandle, she had a clear vision of her future.

But certainty turned to doubt as her school work got harder and harder in ninth grade.

“She had bad grades,” Lacey’s mom, Elizabeth Nowling, recalled. “She was running D’s and F’s most of the school year. She was just barely making it by the skin of her teeth.

Click here to learn more about Lacey.

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Southern Pledges $125 Million
Step Up For Students and Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits (Southern Glazer’s), the nation’s leading wine and spirits distributor, announced on August 10th that Southern Glazer’s has committed $125 million to the Step Up For Students Scholarship Program for the 2016-17 school year.

Southern Glazer’s contribution – the largest in the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program’s 15-year history – will fund more than 20,000 scholarships in the 2016-17 school year. This is Southern Glazer’s seventh consecutive year of participating in the Step Up For Students Scholarship Program, bringing the company’s total to a record-breaking $315 million since 2010.

Click here to learn more about Southern Glazer’s contributions.

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FTC Students Make Gains
Florida’s tax credit scholarship program continues to enroll some of the most disadvantaged students from among the state’s lowest-performing public schools, according to the latest evaluation of the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program. After they receive scholarships and enroll in private schools, they keep academic pace with all students nationally, based on their standardized test results.

The report is the eighth annual evaluation of the test score progress, and the second conducted by researchers at the Learning Systems Institute at Florida State University. Researchers examined the reading and math scores of 34,469 students in 1,285 private schools during the 2014-15 school year. Scholarship students in grades 3-10 have been required to take a state-approved nationally norm-referenced since 2006.

Click here to learn more.

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Step Up 15 Logo_Final
Coming Soon…
This year is the 15th anniversary of the creation of the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship.
Please watch for details on how you can join in the celebration.

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Would you like Step Up fliers?

If you would like to have fliers mailed to you, please contact Melissa or Stephanie. Fliers are free of charge, are two-sided (English/Spanish) and provide scholarship information, eligibility requirements and how to apply for both the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (for low-income families with K-12 schoolchildren) and the Gardiner Scholarship (for families with PreK-12 schoolchildren with certain special needs).


Thank you for sharing information on our two scholarship programs with the families you serve.

Melissa Jaramillo
Community Outreach Manager
(904) 595-6814
Stephanie Love
Community Outreach Manager
(904) 352-2250

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Thank you for reading
Step Up For Students | Website | Blog
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Duffles4Kids Update

Posted August 19, 2016 by FloridaFAPA

Hello Duffels4Kids friends!

We can’t believe that it’s already August because it seems as if just yesterday it was May! Where did the summer go?

As we get ready to usher in a new season — and school year — we wanted to take a moment of your time to recap our awesome summer.

Duffels4Kids Walk
We held a very successful Duffels4Kids Walk in Jacksonville on May 21. This would not have been possible without the great support from our sponsors (such as Family Support Services of North Florida), individual donors and our walkers. We welcomed almost 300 attendees to the Jacksonville Zoo to “walk for the kids.” Check out the website at to see the logos of our sponsors and you can also view photos from the walk HERE.

Florida State Foster/Adoptive Parent Association Conference
On June 11, Duffels4Kids distributed 129 duffels and more than 100 pajamas to foster parents attending FSFAPA’s annual conference in Orlando. We love having a table at events catered to foster kids and foster parents because everyone can see actual results of supporting a program like ours. (By the way, we sold out of our amazing handmade bracelets supporting kids in foster care!) We had more requests than duffels during the conference but as of today, all requests have been processed and duffels were shipped directly to the children throughout the state.

Foster Youth Graduation Present
In early June, Duffels4Kids provided large wheeled duffels to 80 foster youth graduating in Miami-Dade County. Each duffel included a spiral-bound Foster Care Transition Toolkit, which was developed by the U.S. Department of Education to help foster youth succeed beyond high school graduation. Duffels4Kids will provide additional support to those youth entering college for the first time, gifting them with care packages and other items as needed.

Medtronic Philanthropy Event
Duffels4Kids was awarded $20,000 to facilitate a philanthropy project for Medtronic and on June 14, Medtronic employees stuffed 500 duffels for children in foster care at the Hilton Diplomat in Hollywood. Each volunteer wrote an encouraging note for the kids — a small gesture that will surely bring big smiles to the recipients. View our photos from this event HERE.

School Backpacks
We secured 200 backpacks for organizations hosting back-to-school giveaways for August. Helping K-12 students start school on the right foot is a big priority for us too!Florida Department of Children & Families Distribution
On August 5, we distributed 200 duffels to the Jacksonville office of DCF. Investigators were at the office to pick up the duffels, which they will have on hand to give when a child is removed from his/her home. Our goal: #NoMoreTrashBags for foster kids transitioning from home to home.

So there’s our summer in a nutshell (as always you can check our blog for more details on each event). What’s planned for the next four months? Celebrations4Kids (birthday parties for teens in group homes), more duffel distributions and a holiday partnership with Biaggi Luggage! Stay tuned as we strive to change the culture of foster care, one duffel at a time.
Warm regards,
T. LaShaun Wallace


Family Support Services of North Florida

A HUGE thanks goes to our lead sponsor for the 2016 walk: Family Support Services of North Florida. FSS was very supportive of our efforts to host the walk in Jacksonville and their staff worked tirelessly to make this year’s walk a success. Lee Kaywork (CEO of FSS) and his family also participated in the walk with us, showing the community that foster kids are a priority from the top to bottom in his organization. Thank you FSS for believing in our vision!

Youth Volunteers

Duffels4Kids has several events throughout the year where volunteers are heavily needed. We are proud of our youth volunteers who step in to help their peers in foster care. They are proving that they are ready to make the world a better place.

Copyright © 2016 Duffels4Kids, All rights reserved.