foster care

MGN Online

A bill aimed at making sure more kids don’t die from abuse or neglect under the care of the state’s foster care system is now advancing in the House. The latest plan to revamp the Florida Department of Children and Families builds on a recent investigative series by the Miami Herald.

MGN Online

The Florida Senate has now put together several proposals aimed at overhauling Florida’s child welfare agency. The goal is to address the spate of child deaths taking place under the watch of the Florida Department of Children and Families.

The bill makes several changes to DCF. They include creating a criminal offense for abandoning a child, seeking to improve child abuse investigators’ qualifications and making sure most new employees hired after January 1st of next year hold a degree in social work.

Florida's Guardian Ad Litem

A bill making it easier for foster kids to obtain a Florida driver’s license cleared its first Senate committee Tuesday.

Venice Republican Senator Nancy Detert says little by little, state lawmakers are making life easier for foster kids. Now, Detert wants to get rid of a roadblock she says has been causing problems for foster kids close to going out on their own.

Florida Channel

As Florida lawmakers get closer to overhauling the state’s child welfare agency in an effort to avoid more child deaths, some worry proposed changes could harm the Florida Department of Children and Families. Whether new child protective investigators should be required to have a social work degree became a matter of contention during a Senate hearing Tuesday.

Hollywood Democratic Senator Eleanor Sobel says she believes the proposal her committee will soon put forth will be what she calls “landmark legislation” that will protect the state’s most vulnerable youth:

Florida's Guardian Ad Litem

State lawmakers are working to build on past successful legislative foster care reform efforts with a new proposal aimed at helping Florida’s foster kids learn how to drive and get a driver’s license. That’s been pinpointed as one of the barriers they face as they try to lead a normal life.

The Obstacles Of Obtaining A License

Florida Channel

As lawmakers looks to craft legislation to curb the recent spate of child deaths within Florida’s child welfare system, they received an update Tuesday about what the Florida Department of Children and Families has been doing to improve its child abuse investigations during a committee that looks at child issues.

At least 20 children connected to Florida’s foster care system have died in 2013, leading the DCF to re-evaluate its child abuse investigations.

Florida Senate

A Florida lawmaker hopes to prohibit a practice called “private re-homing” during the 2014 session. The move follows a probe that found people who adopted children overseas gave up those same kids through an informal adoption online.

Informal Online Adoption

According to a Reuters investigation, Americans who tired of raising children they adopt overseas sometimes find their way to online groupsthrough Yahoo and Facebookto advertise the child for a second adoption. 

Florida Channel / Florida Channel

An independent review of the Florida Department of Children and Families says the state’s child welfare agency falls short when it comes to its child protective investigative services. The report comes as the state looks to curb a spate of child abuse deaths.

DCF Talks Logistics Of Expanding Foster Care

Sep 3, 2013
R.Benk / WFSU-News

Department of Children and Families officials Tuesday held the first of what may become a series of rule-making workshops concerning a new law that allows young adults to stay in foster homes until they’re 21. But, many officials had the same question –what happens to kids who CAN’T stay in those homes?

Florida Youth Shine website

The Department of Children and Families’ recent troubles took center stage at the group’s Child Protection Summit this week in Orlando. The event drew record attendance with 2,500 guardians ad litem, DCF workers, and members of the justice system, along with a group of former foster kids who offered their take on issues facing the department.

In contrast to recent meetings about the rash of children who’ve died recently under the Department of Children and Families’ watch, the Child Protection summit’s kick off seemed more like a concert with music and cheering.

Florida Department of Children and Families

The new interim head of Florida’s child welfare agency is calling on her staff to refocus in the wake of the recent spate of child deaths associated with the agency. But, some child welfare advocates say there’s more work to do.

Florida Department of Children and Families

Florida Department of Children and Families officials say the deaths of four children in six weeks in May and June have led to meaningful changes in the organization.  But the agency’s critics say the fixes don’t go far enough.

The Florida Department of Children and Families is retraining more than 5,000 case workers in an effort to stave off future deaths of children in the agency’s care. But DCF Secretary David Wilkins says there’s no guarantee a child will never die on their watch again:

Florida’s new foster care reforms are in the national spotlight, after Congressional leaders held a hearing Thursday to look into different efforts to help those in the foster care system around the nation.

A bill extending the age for those aging out of Florida’s foster care system is now heading to the Governor. The measure aiming to help foster care kids have more of an advantage when they enter into adulthood has now passed the full state Legislature.

“You know, I hear a lot of my peers saying oh, I can’t wait until I turn 18. I tell them yes you can because if you think you’re turning 18 to be grown? No,” said Kierra Perkins.

Growing up in the foster care system wasn’t easy for Kierra, and it was even harder when she had to set out on her own when she turned 18.

Gov. Scott Signs Foster Care Bill To 'Let Kids Be Kids'

Apr 11, 2013
Jessica Palombo / WFSU-FM

“The Normalcy Bill” is a nickname for the legislation Governor Scott signed into law on Thursday. Children’s advocates are celebrating the new law they say will give the state’s more than 7,000 foster children lives like any other child.

Florida lawmakers are hoping to make kids who age out of the foster care system self-sufficient when they go out on their own. A bill that aims to do just that passed with bipartisan support Wednesday in a House budget panel.

Today, there’s about 3,000 young adults aging out of the foster care system, and are in a program called “Road-To-Independence.” That program allows these kids to get financial assistance.

To be eligible, the young adult must be a former foster kid, must be at least 18, and either enrolled in high school or have earned a high school diploma.

411 Teen: Youth SHINE

Mar 20, 2013

Join host Dr. Liz Holifield for "411 Teen", a locally produced program created with teen input for a teenage audience. Guests provide insights into topics that concern adolescents.  This week, Dr. Liz talks with Youth SHINE, a leadership and advocacy group comprised of current and former members of Florida's foster program.

The Florida state task force on prescription drug abuse by pregnant women is finalizing its recommendations to present to the Florida Legislature. The group held one of its final meetings at the Capitol on Monday.

Last year, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi assembled the task force, made up mostly of agency heads, lawmakers and doctors. It’s addressing one of her priority issues: the high numbers of babies in Florida who are born addicted to prescription drugs or whose parents are prescription drug abusers.

The Florida Department of Children and Families is reporting that they’ve seen an increase in the number of children who are adopted out of the state’s foster care system. The department experienced an 8-percent increase, even as the number of children available for adoption is on the decline because they increased the amount of services to keep as many kids with their families.

An ongoing investigation has revealed children in Florida’s foster care system are being recruited as prostitutes. The Florida Department of Children and Families says it’s horrified by the allegations that pimps were targeting girls in group homes subcontracted by the state.

Four Miami-Dade men were arrested this week for allegedly recruiting girls in foster care group homes

As lawmakers prepare to take up the state’s health care budget, a House panel is already expecting to save the state about $11-million. But, as Sascha Cordner reports, it’s at the expense of those who depend on the state’s foster care system.

When Republican Representative Matt Hudson of Naples slashed $300 million from the state’s health care budget, his proposal was met with praise from lawmakers and members of the health and human services community. That’s because in his plan, Hudson says he chose to put people over things:

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