foster care

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

Florida Department of Children and Families Interim head Mike Carroll says it’s now time to move the agency forward and embrace what he calls the “intense media scrutiny.” A series of media reports highlighting abuse-related deaths has led to several new laws on the books aimed at overhauling the state’s child welfare agency.

floridahealth.gov

The committee tasked with taking a broader approach to reduce preventable child abuse-related deaths is set to have its first face-to-face meeting at the end of this month, since a new child welfare law took effect last month. They had their first logistical meeting with its new members this past week.

http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/childfatality/

The state’s child welfare agency launched a website this week that coincides with a newly signed law that will take effect Tuesday. The rollout of the Florida Department of Children and Families’ new way to track child deaths comes at the same time a scathing grand jury report came out and some are renewing their call to investigate the agency’s integrity.

Child Welfare Reform

There are now three bills awaiting the Governor’s approval, after Governor Rick Scott signed a bill overhauling Florida’s child welfare system.

Sen. Eleanor Sobel (D-Hollywood) was tasked during the 2014 Legislative Session with drawing up a comprehensive child welfare reform bill in the Senate. Multiple investigations by the Miami Herald about child deaths under the Florida Department of Children and Families’ watch in recent years was the impetus.

So, Sobel says she couldn’t be prouder about the bipartisan effort to reform the troubled child welfare system.

MGN Online

Florida’s foster kids may soon have an easier time obtaining a driver’s license and auto insurance. Governor Rick Scott signed a bill into law aimed at doing just that Thursday.

Covering the cost of insurance is among the obstacles Guardian Ad Litem Executive Director Alan Abramowitz says Florida’s foster kids continually face in trying to learn to drive. And, he says the new law creating a three-year pilot program to help cover those costs will go a long way.

iStockphoto

A bill regulating Florida’s parasailing industry and another helping foster kids obtain driver's licenses are among the measures now heading to Governor Rick Scott.

Parasail Bill

The measure—which never had a hearing for several years—got one this year, following a parasailing accident that happened in Senate President Don Gaetz’ district and received national attention.

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.

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.

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