"Relationships are the agents of change and the most powerful therapy is human love."
"...healing and recovery are impossible - even with the best medications and therapy in the world - without lasting, caring connections to others."
- Dr. Bruce Perry, from The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog
Monthly Update - February 2017  
Community Organizations Learn Permanency Values in Preparation for Helping Homeless Youth Find Families

On February 14th, Florida Foster Care Review was thrilled to host a permanency values training for the agencies that will collaboratively develop the innovative new Permanency Connections Roundtable (PCRT) Pilot Program to link unaccompanied homeless youth to stable, caring adults. Permanency values form the backbone of the Permanency Roundtable (PRT) Program, fueling team members' efforts to establish lifelong connections for children and youth; they'll play the same central role in the PCRT pilot.

The new PCRT Program will be implemented by FFCR in conjunction with Miami-Dade Youth Homelessness Initiative member agencies Miami Homes for AllThe Alliance for GLBTQ YouthEducate TomorrowProject UP-START of Miami-Dade Public Schools, Miami Bridge, and The Alternative Programs, Inc
Casey Family Programs, which pioneered the permanency roundtable concept nationwide, is donating technical support.

Casey consultant Jennifer Benham tailored the February 14th training to fit the PCRT pilot. The first part focused on the direct link between trauma and human connections: the worst traumas occur when we experience relational loss, but conversely, the more healthy relationships a person has, the more likely the person will be to recover from trauma and thrive. Ms. Benham also emphasized the importance of engaging youth and prioritizing the creation/re-establishment of permanent connections rather than bombarding the youth with services and programs. The group also discussed "Unpacking the No" - how to understand and overcome some youth's reluctance to establishing or re-establishing lasting, unconditional connections. The training concluded with a brainstorming exercise focused on the question, "What can you do now that won't require permission or funds that can help homeless youth connect to stable supportive people outside your agency?"

All who attended came away inspired to work hard to bring the value of permanency to unaccompanied homeless youth in our community.
The Permanent Connections Roundtable (PCRT) Program  is funded by The Children's Trust. The Children's Trust is a dedicated source of revenue established by voter referendum to improve the lives of children and families in Miami-Dade County.
Florida Foster Care Review Staff Honored at Foster, Adoptive, Kinship & Independent Living Commemorative Ceremony

Florida Foster Care Review staff members Yani Sanchez , Citizen Review Panel Specialist, and Lyrical Hanna , Program Assistant, were among those honored on February 2nd at the Miami-Dade Commission. Through the special ceremony, the Miami-Dade Commissioners , the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), the Governor's Office of Adoption and Child Protection , Our Kids of Miami-Dade/Monroe, Inc. , and the Miami-Dade County Foster & Adoptive Parent Association recognized both members of the community who offer love and support to children in need, as well as adults who have made significant contributions since aging out of foster care.

Yani, who is a foster and adoptive parent, received a Certificate of Appreciation 
in recognition of her valuable community contributions . "Accepting this award with my kids made me feel proud," said Yani. "It's really because of them that I continue to foster. Being recognized at this event only solidified my belief that we, as a community, have been given the ability to change someone's life and we should all take the opportunity to do so whether it's through fostering, adopting, advocating or mentoring. These are all of our children and we must do better."

Lyrical, who aged out of foster care, was recognized for making good decisions that led to a positive, successful adult life. Said Lyrical: "I'm grateful to be recognized for my hard-work, accomplishments and my talents as an individual. It was a wonderful ceremony that awarded many great people who deserved to be recognized for their unselfish acts of love."

Congratulations to Lyrical and Yani for their leadership and achievements!
(left to right) Review Specialist Melissa Diaz, FIU students Kelly Williams and Angelica Guevara, and CRP Program Manager Marissa Leichter
FIU students observe Citizen Review Panel

A natural alliance has formed between Florida Foster Care Review and Florida International University (FIU) professor Natalia Giordano, LCSW. Natalia, Visiting Clinical Instructor at FIU's Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work, first collaborated with FFCR as a presenter at a Fostering Connections volunteer training on working with adolescents. FFCR CRP Program Manager Marissa Leichter later guest-lectured at Natalia's class on Child Welfare Policy and Practice. Now, Natalia's social work students are regularly observing FFCR's Citizen Review Panel.

"All the students who have gone to observe the CRP have expressed an interest in learning about the child welfare system," said Natalia. "They have enrolled in the child welfare electives and have been placed at a full case management agency for their internship experience. Working with them in both class, and as their clinical supervisor during their internship, has allowed me to identify their interests and areas for growth. The experience at the CRP is vital for them as they get to see the assessment, planning, and contracting phases we learn about in social work facilitated in a thoughtful and intentional way with clients, agency staff and volunteers."

"In class and supervision we talk about how important it is to think critically and compassionately about our clients, their experiences and their goals. Those values are definitely displayed at the CRP," Natalia added.

We look forward to continuing this valuable learning exchange.
Florida Foster Care Review
2015-2016 Year in Review

Our 2015-2016 Year in Review is now available. Check out our top-level statistics at a glance, and read a few stories about how FFCR programs have changed lives.

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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!