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Archive for the ‘Foster Care’ Category

Tallahassee Democrat: Frustrated foster parents support attorneys for children

June 14th, 2022   No Comments   Foster Care

As foster parents licensed by Florida’s Department of Children and Families, my wife and I are directly responsible for meeting critical day-to-day needs of the children in our home. Whether it is getting a child to necessary medical or therapeutic specialists, finding the most appropriate school, or advocating for educational supports.

Read more here.

Florida’s Children First Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Twenty years ago, child advocates from across the state who were individually working on issues affecting Florida’s most vulnerable children came together with the idea that we could collectively make a greater impact. We ran the gamut in perspective — coming from private practice, businesses, law school clinics, and legal aid organizations —but we were united in our mission to achieve greater reform in the systems that affect children.

Our vision in founding Florida’s Children First was to use a broad range of advocacy strategies to improve the lives of children served by the state.  We believed that the effective implementation of public policy could lead to improve the lives and outcomes for children throughout our state. Twenty years later, I can say proudly that we have made great strides – but our work is far from over.

We worked hard to increase the number of children in state care who have their own attorneys, and to improve the quality of representation provided by all attorneys in the system. We’re also a leader in training all child welfare stakeholders on the laws that are intended to protect and benefit children. But we don’t just educate people about the law, we help make the law better for children.

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Tampa Bay Times: Pinellas sheriff blasted foster agency, but his investigators removed children at a higher rate than any other county

December 21st, 2021   No Comments   Abuse, Foster Care

As reported by the Tampa Bay Times, Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri in November announced a criminal investigation into Eckerd Connects after a child was injured and another overdosed at an unlicensed Largo office where foster children that the agency could not place slept in “deplorable conditions.”

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Nearly 1,000 foster care kids missing in Missouri according to report

November 12th, 2021   No Comments   Foster Care

According to Missouri TV station KY3,  a case study by the U.S. Inspector General’s Office shows that nearly 1,000 foster kids went missing from the foster care system in 2019 from that state. The inspector’s report noted that foster children are at a higher risk of being reported missing. What’s even more sad is that of these missing foster children cases, sex trafficking plays a large role.

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HANDY & Justice For Kids®are Partnering to Present “Finding Family & Friends As An Out Of Home Placement” Virtual Webinar On Wednesday, November 17

November 1st, 2021   No Comments   Foster Care, Uncategorized

Webinar Series will Educate Youth in the Foster Care System about their Rights

WHAT:  HANDY (Helping Abused Neglected Disadvantaged Youth) and Justice for Kids®, a Division of Kelley Kronenberg, proudly present “Finding Family & Friends as an Out of Home Placement,” a virtual webinar to educate youth in the foster care system about their rights. Multiple episodes will be held throughout 2021 and 2022.

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Florida DCF confirmed flaws with the handling of child abuse complaints concerning foster parents following USA TODAY story

Several tragic cases of Justice for Kids Partner Stacie Schmerling were recently featured in USA Today concerning the failures of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to investigate and respond to credible complaints against foster care providers to ensure children are safe.

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The State of Illinois has Been Collecting Foster Children’s Benefits to Reimburse Itself; New Legislation Aims to Move the Money to the Children

September 2nd, 2021   No Comments   Foster Care

The state of Illinois has been collecting the financial benefits for abused, neglected and abandoned children in foster care as state revenue rather than providing the benefits to the children. Last year, the benefits collected totaled over $14.2 million from sources such as disabilities or monies owed deceased parents from places like social security or veterans’ benefits. Many of the children are unaware of the benefits they qualify for because state agencies manage and collect the sums before the children ever find out. In 2018, the state of Illinois collected $13 million from foster children’s benefits to reimburse itself for things like food, clothing, and medical care. “The state already has a responsibility to provide those things, and it does not have to take this money,” said Congressman Danny Davis, who has proposed legislation that would allow the benefits to accumulate in an account that the children could access upon leaving the system.

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Inspiring Story Told by Former Foster Care Child Who Was Abused and Neglected

June 2nd, 2021   No Comments   Foster Care, Sexual Abuse

Kenisha E. Anthony has become an agent for change within the foster care system.  She began her journey as a “ward of the state” when she was only four (4) years old.  Her parents struggled with drug addiction and Kenisha was taken from them.  She would then be placed in seven (7) different homes until finally “aging out” of the system at eighteen (18) years old.  Despite her optimism that things would get better with each home, Kenisha suffered terrible abuse and neglect.  The foster care system failed to protect Kenisha from sexual abuse and other dangers that they are required to prevent.  In the book, “Labeled: Ward of the State,” Kenisha writes her story and details her experiences in these homes.

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DCFS Criticized for Not Protecting LGBTQ Youth in Foster Care in Recent Report from Auditor General

May 26th, 2021   No Comments   Foster Care

The State of Illinois’ Office of the Auditor General recently published a performance audit report detailing the Department of Children and Family Services’ (DCFS) care of LGBTQ youth. The children are in care because they have been abused and neglected. The report finds  LGBTQ youth in DCFS care are ostracized and bullied. Some foster kids have described instances during which LGBTQ youth were kicked out of a foster home by the foster parents for coming out as gay or bisexual. Equally, LGBTQ foster parents do not believe they are supported, depriving the youth from a potential home. Moreover, the position of DCFS LGBTQ Coordinator was vacant for an entire year during the audit period. Read more here.

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In Memory of a Foster Child that Died a Year Ago After a Chokehold, Michigan is to Ban the Use of Restraints on Children Living in Group Homes

April 30th, 2021   No Comments   Abuse, Foster Care

On April 29, 2020, 16-year-old Cornelius Fredrick  threw a sandwich at another child during lunch at Lakeside Academy, a Sequel Youth and Family Services facility for at risk children in Michigan. In response to the sandwich incident, seven adult male staff members held little Cornelius on the floor for more than 10 minutes, putting weight on his legs and torso. Cornelius died two days later at a hospital. He was a foster child whose mother had died four years prior.

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Current Florida policy leaves hundreds of foster children without Medicaid coverage

Until recently, the state of Florida has continued to abandon foster children who had already been abused and neglected, even after they left state care, by improperly removing 1,730 former foster children from Medicaid. Former foster children, under federal law, remain Medicaid eligible until age 26. However, a current Florida policy requires all former foster children to reapply for Medicaid at age 22, leaving hundreds of young adults without coverage.

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NBC News – Foster care crisis: More kids are entering, but fewer families are willing to take them in

January 7th, 2021   No Comments   Foster Care, Uncategorized

The coronavirus pandemic has left many victims in its wake, and the nation’s foster care system is no exception. A recent NBC news article reveals that more kids are entering the foster care system, but fewer families are willing to house them in fear of spreading Covid-19. Children in highly populated areas like New York, New Orleans, and Chicago have been hit the hardest. Chicago alone has seen a 33% increase in the number of children who need foster care services. Foster parents fear expanding their households amidst the pandemic could lead to exposure.

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