foster children

Florida Guardian Ad Litem Facebook

Bills aimed at fixing a glitch in a Florida law have cleared their first legislative committees in the House and Senate. The two measures could get more pro bono attorneys to help kids with special needs.

Florida Department of Children and Families twitter

Florida’s child welfare officials are doing a review of their system and already looking ahead legislatively on the state and national level on what can be done to further help children within the system.

Florida Guardian Ad Litem Facebook

Florida’s Guardian ad Litem program may have thousands of volunteers, but agency officials say they need more male role models, who can advocate on behalf of the state’s abused and neglected children.

MGN Online

Advocates are happy about a new law on the books slated to take effect Saturday to help protect kids within Florida’s child welfare system.

Walton County Sheriff's office Twitter

A Northwest Florida county may be the first in the Panhandle to take over the child protective investigative services—normally done by the state’s child welfare agency. Walton County could join six other counties across Florida—under a bill starting to move in the legislature.

Nakia Venant's facebook

The head of Florida’s child welfare system says it will most likely be about a month before he will have a preliminary report ready for state lawmakers about Nakia Venant. She’s the Miami teenager in foster care who committed suicide live on Facebook last month.

Logyn Robinson
Florida Channel

The Florida House is taking steps to ensure foster kids can get their driver’s license.

Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice
Florida Channel

It’s been almost two years since a law took effect extending the age for foster care youth in the system. Florida lawmakers are now looking to build on that effort.

Florida Department of Children and Families

In an effort to increase adoptions, Florida lawmakers are pushing a measure that would give state employees an incentive to add foster kids to their families. Under a bill moving through the senate, state workers would get $10,000 for taking home a child with special needs and $5,000 for taking home a child with no special needs. Sen. Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) is sponsoring the measure. He says the money will help families who might otherwise hesitate to adopt while also helping the state.  

Florida Department of Agriculture

For several weeks, a group of Florida foster youth has been working at one of the state’s largest state agencies as part of a new legislative pilot program. The goal is to help these young adults aging out of the foster system get on the path to future employment.

Back in 2005, Brian Williams went into the foster care system when he was a teenager. He later left when he was 18. The 22-year-old says overall, it wasn’t bad, but it was a big learning experience.

A new legislative pilot program is underway to build on past efforts to help kids aging out of foster care get a job in the future.

Florida Guardian Ad Litem Executive Director Alan Abramowitz says among the obstacles facing foster care youth is finding a job.

“When you look at the statistics of youth who have aged out of foster care, you see homelessness, lack of jobs, and the legislature clearly realizes that many of these kids have not been put into a position to excel,” said Abramowitz.

Florida Channel

A new law aimed at helping those who would otherwise have aged out of Florida’s foster care system when they turn 18 is going well so far, but may still need some more work. That’s according to the state’s child welfare agency as well as some foster youth who are taking advantage of the programs under the new law.

It’s been barely a year since the “Nancy C. Detert Common Sense and Compassion Independent Living Act” got signed into law. And, it’s only been a few months since the law authored by Detert took effect.

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.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

Easter may be coming up, but Florida’s Governor and First Lady celebrated a little earlier this past weekend. They hosted foster care kids, children with disabilities, and military families at the Governor’s Mansion for an Easter egg hunt.

“5,4,3,2,1…Get all the eggs,” exclaimed Governor Rick Scott to the group of kids.

The Easter Egg Hunt at the Governor’s Mansion was more like an Easter Egg Scramble as kids collected thousands of eggs all over the lawn of the Governor home.

“Mommy, look how many I got," said one child as she held up her basket.

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.

The Department of Children and Families is expanding its “Camps for Champions” to more than a dozen locations across the state.

The camps are meant to build the character and self-esteem of foster children in Florida using high profile mentors, and opened in 2009 with the help of NFL star Myron Rolle, who joined the effort to teach fitness, wellness, and leadership to foster kids. In addition to the star studded cast of mentors the camps employ, they also feature programs like “Camp Sib” which is meant to reunite siblings separated after being put into foster care.