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Florida’s Children First Hosts Northeast Florida Event Honoring Community Heroes Committed to Helping Local Foster Children

November 16th, 2012   No Comments   Advocacy

Florida’s Children First (FCF) recognized local individuals for their tireless efforts to advocate for the state’s most vulnerable citizens at its annual Northeast Florida Reception Nov. 15 at the University Club in Jacksonville. FCF is a statewide, nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting foster children and other at-risk youth.

The 2012 Honorees include Brenda Stewart of Family Support Services, Carolyn King of the Nassau Guardian ad Litem Office, and the Justice Coalition. Tina and Burton Scaff will also receive the Foster & Adoptive Family of the Year award.

Additionally, Shawna Nealey and Malcolm Bright were recognized as this year’s Youth Honorees.

Brenda Stewart is an Independent Living Life Coach at Family Support Services. She is a well regarded coach for high risk and transitioning foster teens in the Northeast Florida area. She wants all young people to achieve and succeed at levels that may even surprise themselves.

Carolyn King is the Director of the Nassau Guardian ad Litem Office. She is determined to make sure victimized children in care do not have to face more abuse going through the system. She diligently works to provide voices to each family, giving them every opportunity to succeed, while still holding them accountable for their end of the deal.

The Justice Coalition works hard to be available for the innocent victims of violent crimes, the community, law enforcement, legislators, and local officials by educating the public on criminal justice issues and helping to protect children by publishing photos of missing children and runaways from foster care.

When Foster & Adoptive Family Honorees Tina & Burton Scaff found out they could not have children of their own, they decided they would give back to their community instead. The couple began fostering children of all ages, and after three years have successfully adopted their first child, Jaiden. Although every child who stays with them becomes their child, they hope to legally adopt more in the future.

The 2012 Youth Honorees have demonstrated determination and tirelss spirit despite tough obstacles. After her 18th birthday, Shawna Nealey stopped attending high school, had a son, and was terminated from the Road to Independence program. Three years later, she has earned her high school diploma, started attending parenting classes, obtained her driver’s license and is now attending classes at Florida State College.

After both his parents were incarcerated, Malcolm Bright persevered and ultimately flourished at his new group home. He became President of the Family Support Services’ Passport to Leadership program and continues to assist other charities. He also publicly speaks to raise awareness for children of incarcerated parents and attends school at Florida State College.

To learn more about FCF please call 954-796-0860 or email fcf@floridaschildrenfirst.org. You can also visit www.floridaschildrenfirst.org.

About Florida’s Children First:

Florida’s Children First, Inc. (FCF) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to protect the legal rights of at – risk children, especially those in Florida’s foster care system. FCF gives these children a powerful voice before all levels of government, including the court system if needed. FCF was founded by child advocates from around the state so that efforts can be coordinated, strengthened and built into a powerful statewide force for Florida’s children.

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