Anthropologist Margaret Mead said, "One of the oldest human needs is having someone to wonder where you are when you don't come home at night."  Through the Permanency Roundtable (PRT) Program, Florida Foster Care Review seeks to fill that most basic need for youth otherwise at risk of aging out of foster care with no one to call family, and often to the streets.
Monthly Update - January 2017  
International Expert Kevin Campbell Trains Child Welfare Stakeholders in Family Finding Strategies to Move More Youth to Permanency

From January 18th to 20th, Florida Foster Care Review held a free three-day comprehensive training session on Family Finding - a set of specific strategies designed to locate and engage relatives of children living in out-of-home care. The facilitator, Kevin A. Campbell, developed the Family Finding model and founded the Center for Family Finding and Youth Connectedness, which later merged with another initiative to form the National Institute for Permanent Family Connectedness. He has helped over 10,000 youth achieve permanency and continues to develop strategies to address the often extreme levels of loneliness and isolation that youth in foster care experience while waiting for a chance to go home to their relatives or to be adopted.

Through Mr. Campbell's experiential-based training, participants learned how to utilize techniques and strategies to establish the meaningful lifelong permanency only a family can provide.  Attendees were asked to bring real cases to the training so that they could apply the techniques immediately and understand the process through real world examples. The event was attended by 33  participants, mostly professionals from Miami-Dade child welfare and foster care agencies. The intent was to not only layer Family Finding into FFCR's ongoing Permanency Roundtable (PRT) Program, but also to build the capacity of agencies and organizations in Miami-Dade to pursue permanency on their own.

Since July 2014, Florida Foster Care Review has been facilitating Permanency Roundtables (PRTs), which seek to link youth otherwise at risk of aging out of foster care to lifelong, stable adult connections. The PRTs are implemented in cooperation with OurKids of Miami-Dade/Monroe, Inc., the full case management agencies, Children's Legal Services, the Guardian ad Litem Program and a number of child-serving community partners. The program has already transformed the lives of numerous youth in our community. Funding to provide Family Finding training to FFCR staff and community stakeholders came from The Miami Foundation, Joseph H. & Florence A. Roblee Foundation, Peacock Foundation, Inc., and others. Casey Family Programs, the originators of the PRT concept nationwide, provides ongoing in-kind technical support and training.

We are grateful to all who are making it possible for Florida Foster Care Review and other child welfare stakeholders to pursue new avenues for meeting youth's most basic needs.
Congrats to Our Child Welfare Professionals of the Month!
July - December 2016

Every month, Florida Foster Care Review recognizes an outstanding case manager or other child welfare practitioner with our Child Welfare Professional of the Month Award. FFCR's team of expert review specialists - the staff members who oversee the Citizen Review Panel (CRP) process - select the awardee on the basis of their professionalism during CRP hearings, excellent presentation skills, thorough documentation, knowledge of their clients' needs and exceptional efforts to provide quality services to children and families. T hese six professionals make children's lives better by going above and beyond the call of duty and we are happy to recognize their extra-special efforts: Natalie Rivas, Family Recourse Center; Mary J. Walton, Guardian ad Litem Program; Widlyne Lopez, OurKids of Miami-Dade/Monroe, Inc.; Paula A. Velazquez, Esq., Lawyers for Children America; Joi Demps, Children's Home Society; and Taylor Wall, Guardian ad Litem Program. Congratulations and thanks!

The Best of Both Worlds - Tony's Story
Tony* was removed from his mother in 2011. She could no longer manage his risky and highly aggressive behaviors. In foster care, Tony was diagnosed with Mild Mental Retardation and provided specialized services through the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD). His mother visited regularly, but without services, she could not manage Tony in her home and thus could not have her parental rights restored. Children can spend years on the waitlist for the waiver that pays for these services, and with the high cost, children like Tony often linger in foster care indefinitely. In 2014, Tony was referred to the Permanency Roundtable (PRT) Program . The PRT team pushed for a re-evaluation of Tony's APD case, and in 2016 his waiver was approved. As a result, Tony was able to legally reunify with his mother. Nonetheless, due to his significant needs, the PRT team recommended that Tony remain in APD's physical custody.
The result was a rare one in the child welfare arena. Normally, even the best case scenario would have necessitated choosing between indefinitely maintaining Tony's legal status as a foster child in order to ensure services or returning him to the physical care of his mother even though she was financially and practically unable to meet his complex needs. Neither would have been in Tony's best interest. The PRT Team managed to achieve the best of both worlds - having Tony legally returned to his mother, while still receiving the out-of-home care he needs.
*Name and likeness have been changed to protect privacy.
The PRT Program is made possible with support from Peacock Foundation, Inc. , The Miami Foundation , the Joseph H. & Florence A. Roblee Foundation , Batchelor Foundation and generous donors like you.
In the news 

Report: The Current State of Foster Care - latest statistics from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) data for FY 2014

In the community

Foster Youth Weekly, FFCR's Online Newspaper 

Like being in the know? FFCR curates Foster Youth Weekly, an online paper focusing on resources useful to and supportive of youth in foster care and young adults recently in care. Check it out for employment info and more. To receive it in your inbox, be sure to subscribe!