2009-2010 Annual Report By Florida Department of Children and Families Released

The 2009-2010 Annual Report for the Florida Department of Children and Families’ is now available for search and download. You can choose your specifc region and obtain data and/or search their ACCESS Community Partners database here.

In the Southeast Region Annual Report, DCF publicizes stories and pictures about how the Department has met increased demand for the programs and services provided in Palm Beach and Broward counties, and about some of the what they consider to be their unique initiatives and partnerships. The Southeast Region web page (Circuit 15 for Palm Beach County, Circuit 17 for Broward County) also includes detailed local contact information for both Circuits, and links to the Palm Beach County Regional Newsletters produced in 2009 -2010. Access it all here.

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St. Petersburg Times: We’re Failing Our Kids

In a special opinion piece that recently ran in the St Petersburg Times, James P. McHale of the University of South Florida chronicles a compelling report, entitled “Investing in Florida’s Children: Good Policy, Smart Economics,” that was assembled by researchers at Florida State University. The data they report is almost beyond belief. Here’s a quick peek:

Florida ranks 47th in the percentage of pregnant women receiving prenatal care in the first trimester.

Florida is  ninth-worst in the country in child abuse deaths. Nonetheless, the 2010 Florida Legislature cut our state’s Healthy Families program, which effectively prevents child abuse before it occurs.

Florida’s average wages of $9 per hour without benefits contributes to child care staff turnover rates of 30 to 40 percent.

Florida serves less than 25 percent of infants and toddlers eligible for federally sponsored Early Head Start, a comprehensive, high-quality program with demonstrated positive outcomes.

Florida is ranked at the bottom in national spending for prekindergarten. We are the only state to actually decrease funding for pre-K two years in a row.

McHale’s article in the Times can be found here. You can also download the actual Investing in Children report in PDF form from The Policy Group for Florida Families & Children’s web site here.

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Major Adoption Study Says Families NOT Receiving Essential Services

In a major new study of adoption practices across the country, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute said too many families are not receiving essential services while raising children who previously had been abused, neglected or institutionalized.

The report, “Keeping The Promise: The Critical Need for Post-Adoption Services to Enable Children and Families to Succeed,” links the current challenges to the changing face of adoption over the past two decades. Adoption of relinquished infants has become far rarer, now numbering an estimated 14,000 a year, while adoptions out of foster care — involving many children who suffered abuse or neglect — have soared from about 31,000 in 1997 to more than 57,000 last year.

You can read the story as reported by the Sun Sentinel here, or visit the the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institue to view the report, read the executive summary, or download a PDF of it in it’s entirety here.

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Forever Family Receives National Recognition

Forever Family, the South Florida nonprofit that utilizes television segments and on-air media partnerships and promotions to create awareness about children and teens in the foster care system, has been presented with the Adoption Excellence Award by the United States Department of Health and Human Services and the Children’s Bureau.

The mission of Forever Family is to get foster children adopted; educate and recruit mentors, volunteers, foster parents and Guardians Ad Litem; increase employment opportunities for at-risk youth; generate donations for families adopting medically needy children and teens leaving foster care; and advocate on behalf of current and former foster youth.

To view the MSNBC interview of Forever Family founder  Gia Tutalo-Mote and for more information about the organization, check out their web site here.

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Effects of Domestic Violence on Children

Via the Florida Children’s Campaign weekly Newsletter, linking to an article that originally appeared in the Florida Times-Union, the full version of which can be found here. Thanks!

Children who witness violent and abusive behavior in their homes are the most likely individuals to become perpetrators of domestic violence in the future. Men who are exposed to domestic violence in childhood are twice as likely to abuse their own partner and children, while women experiencing abuse in childhood are more likely to become victims of domestic violence in the future.

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Women’s Law Center Conference Call on Child Care Assistance

Interested in learning more about the most recent developments in state child care assistance programs? Looking for information about what the future holds for families needing help with their child care costs and the providers in their communities?

Join The Women’s Law Center on Wednesday, October 27, at 3:00 p.m. for a conference call on State Child Care Assistance Policies: Current Challenges for Children and Families. The call will discuss how advocates are working in their states on key challenges affecting low-income families as well as providers’ access to child care assistance.

Register today! This call is free to participants, but registration is required. Here’s the link. Great speakers, great information, but you’ve got to sign up.

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Stopp The Organized Pill Pushers!

Picture a Nation without Pill Mills. Unimaginable damage has been done in Florida to families and children who have been victims of the despicable practices of these profit-at-all-cost facilities (There are more Pain Clinics in Broward County that McDonald’s outlets). Victims and advocates now have a new ally: STOPP NOW, a group committed to putting an end to this nightmare through protest, public awareness, education and legislative reform. Check them out on the web here for facts, information, and additional links.

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A Symposium on Gay Adoption in Florida

Great opportunity for all concerned citizens to participate, because it appears that Florida has finally been dragged into the 21st Century, and “The Best Interests of the Child” standard that has been the norm for decades in divorce and typical non-Foster Care custody cases has finally trumped the blind and prejudiced fanatics that have forced Florida foster children to languish in limbo. The Symposium is hosted by LAMBDA United & Inter-American Center for Human Rights, and it’s at Nova Southeastern UniversityH. Wayne Huizenga School of Business, 3301 College Ave, Ft Laud 33314, Room 3032, on Thursday, October 21, 2010, from  6:30 – 9pm

Download the event flier here. 10.21.10 NSU GayAdoption

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Kids Deserve Nutritious Food!

via Florida Impact on Twitter:

All Children deserve access to nutritious food!

Pass H.R. 5504. NO cuts to SNAP (formerly known as “Food Stamps”). Sign the Florida Paper Plate Campaign here.

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Report Shows Foster Children Struggle To Learn

USA Today recently reported research findings confirming that bouncing from home to home exacts a significant toll on a child’s ability to learn. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley, shows that foster children consistently scored lower in state English and math tests, even when factors such as income, race and learning disabilities were taken into account. Here’s a link to the story.

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