A Child's Life

 

 

“The Senate page program was such an unexpended opportunity and I would have never had that chance without Children’s Home Society of Florida.”  

-Yasmin, former Senate page

 

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Policy Matters

July 2013

News you can use

As a leader in our state, you’re busy. That’s why we created Policy Matters, a news-you-can-use-now e-update with key issues affecting Florida’s children. Looking for more info? Find it at www.chsfl.org/issues.

Case managers: When decisions could mean the difference between life and death

We place the lives, well-being and futures of our state’s most vulnerable children – kids our state rescued from violent, abusive, neglectful situations – with Florida’s child welfare case managers. Yet, while we rightfully expect case managers to protect children from further harm and help them heal from their tragedies, we also expect case managers to understand the depth of each family’s challenges. We expect case managers to help parents work through complex obstacles to safely bring their kids back home … or, if that’s not possible, we expect case managers to find forever families for children awaiting adoption.  And we expect case managers to do this well for every child and family for which they’re responsible –an average case manager is responsible for 22 families … and every child in each family.

Unfortunately, the majority of case managers experience such burnout that they leave their jobs – or even the child welfare field – within just a few short years. This creates further instability for children and families, further disrupting progress toward helping children grow up in safe, stable, permanent homes.

Moreover, unnecessary administrative burden placed on our case managers by contacts and regulating agencies consumes nearly an entire workweek, leaving little time to spend with children and families who depend on these professionals.

Now, recent legislative changes charge case managers with even more. With the elimination of agency-run independent living programs, case managers will be responsible for ensuring teens receive proper independent living skills training and preparation.
 
They’re expected to do more for the same pay. They’re expected to do more with the same resources, the same hours in the day. It’s unrealistic.

And as more children enter the system – and as more teens stay in the system until their 21st birthdays – we need more case managers to ensure all children and families receive attention, support, care and commitment to find healing and stability.

Not only does Florida need more child welfare case managers to properly serve and help the thousands of children in the foster care system – and their families – but our state also needs to more appropriately compensate these professionals for their difficult, demanding work. Child welfare case managers are responsible for children’s lives, and they are charged with helping the most complex, challenging families overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

See why this is a critical issue that needs attention now … and what the devastating consequences are – for Florida’s kids – if this isn’t addressed.
 
A day in the life of …

When an angry, rebellious teen has known only disappointments, pain, brokenness and instability, how do you begin to help him heal, find a permanent home and show him the way to better days? A case manager shares her passion for helping others - even amidst daily challenges.

Listen now.

Walking the walk

Special thanks to Senator Bean, Senator Gibson and Representative Fullwood for joining child welfare professionals in Jacksonville to learn more about the important work case managers perform each day.

To join child welfare case managers on ride-alongs, contact Summer Pfeiffer at (850) 339-5463.

Special thanks: Keeping kids first

Thank you for prioritizing children in 2013. Your decisions reflect your commitment to helping the future of our state, understanding the hope and opportunities we provide to children today – particularly the hurting and the vulnerable – will directly affect their contributions to society tomorrow.

Our final 2013 Legislative Report provides more details about the impact of critical decisions made during session.

Special thanks: Funding for the Evans Community School wellness cottage

Thank you for appropriating $400,000 of the education budget to the Wellness Cottage at Evans Community School, located on the campus of Evans High School in the Pine Hills area of Orlando. Because of your commitment to the health and education of students in this economically disadvantaged community, more than 2,000 children will soon have access to health, dental and mental health services on school grounds.  More…

We would like to specifically thank Senator Geraldine Thompson and Representative Randolph Bracy for championing this issue during the 2013 Legislative Session. We would not have been successful without the support and leadership by House Education Appropriations Chairman Erik Fresen and Senate Education Appropriations Chairman Bill Galvano.

Take a closer look at Evans Community School with a personal tour.  Contact Summer Pfeiffer at (850) 339-5463 to schedule yours.

Special thanks: Preparing the next generation

Special thanks to Senate President Gaetz for reserving slots in the Senate Page Program for Children's Home Society of Florida’s teens in foster care. Since we began offering scholarships for our teens to participate in this program, we’ve had more than 40 youth walk the Capitol halls, meet with legislators and open up about their time in foster care. For Yasmin, the experience opened her eyes to a new world of possibilities.
 
Coming up next

Children's Home Society of Florida leaders, staff and volunteers will be inviting you to learn more about the vital impact we make each day. For more information on how Children's Home Society of Florida changes lives in your community, contact your local office.  We also invite you to attend one of our upcoming events in your district.

More questions? Ready to make a tangible impact on children’s lives? Contact Summer Pfeiffer at (850) 339-5463.

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