Florida Department of Children and Families Annual Report to the Community July 31, 2007 — June 30, 2008 From the Secretary Florida Department of Children & Families George Sheldon Together we achieved remarkable progress in how we serve the children and families of Southeast Florida. We can never forget how important that is. We are the last hope for so many people. Secretary Butterworth and I made a commitment to make this a better place to work and to improve the services we deliver. We made great progress on both commitments. There are so many accomplishments we can all be proud of, but I am particularly proud of two. George Sheldon Secretary Florida Department of Children & Families We set a record in adoptions in fiscal 2008, with 3,674 children finding forever families, thanks to Governor Crist’s adoption initiative and your hard work and dedication. I have no doubt that more children will have permanent, loving homes by the end of 2009. Second, we have become the best agency in America in our accuracy rate on food stamps. This is an important achievement of our ACCESS staff, but it is just one example of the kind of improvements made by dedicated people through our agency and our partner organizations. This has been a tough year for all Floridians. Home foreclosures and unemployment in Florida are some of the highest in the nation. Floridians receiving food stamps has increased more than 24 percent over the last year. But, you have stepped up and provided great service to our clients. As we look forward, we know that our budget will be tighter and the demand for services will be greater. They will ask that we do more with less. I am confident, though, that the Governor and this legislature will provide us the tools we need to get the job done. As our challenges seem greater, we cannot forget the people who need us. We cannot forget the price paid by our most vulnerable citizens if we don’t do our jobs right every single time. I have said that my top priority is to integrate mental health and substance abuse services with the child welfare system. In the past, our clients had visited various program offices to receive different services that our Department offers. It is time to break down these silos and integrate mental health and substance abuse service to help individuals and families in need find a path to recovery. We know that many of the families we serve are faced with substance abuse and mental health issues, and we should be treating the entire family holistically. Part of that effort is in line with our goal to reduce the number of children in out of home care by 50 percent by 2012. If we can provide services to the family to address their problems, we can keep children safely in the home. Through innovation and especially cooperation with our sister agencies and community partners, I am positive that the dedicated and compassionate staff of this Department can overcome the challenges we face in the year to come. We will “keep it going.” From the Circuit 15 Administrator Florida Department of Children & Families Perry Borman Protect the vulnerable. Promote strong and economically self-sufficient families and advance personal and family recovery and resiliency. Given the state of our economy….the above mission of the Department of Children and Families is more important than ever. In Palm Beach County, we have seen a marked increase in the demand for our services…whether it is a 28% increase in our food stamp clients to an across the board increase in both our child and adult protective service investigations. Due to budget realities, we have recently planned to close two of our Service Centers. It is a sacrifice both internally and externally, but we cannot let it be an excuse. Perry Borman Circuit 15 Administrator Florida Department of Children & Families Despite the national and state economic outlook…our mission does not change. In addition to customer service, the hallmarks of success lie in our ability to be creative and innovative…in a way that increases both the effectiveness and efficiency of our work and delivers more positive outcomes for our clients. In the annual report, you will read about several examples of innovative initiatives including the Service Referral Internet Portal, a refined Child Welfare Substance Abuse Network, a new pilot with law enforcement, and a new on-boarding process to increase retention. Thanks to all of our employees who work very hard to protect the vulnerable, promote strong and economically self-sufficient families and advance personal and family recovery and resiliency. OUR MISSION: Protect the vulnerable, promote strong and economically self-sufficient families, and advance personal and family recovery and resiliency. GUIDING PRINCIPLES: The Department of Children and Families is committed to Integrity, Leadership, Transparency, Accountability, Community Partnerships and Orientation to Action. ...LEADERSHIP Who we are: POPULATION: According to the 2005 Census estimate, 1,268,548 reside in Palm Beach County. Approximately 46 percent of residents live in one of the county’s 38 municipalities with the remainder living in unincorporated areas. West Palm Beach is the largest municipality, both in population and area. The city covers 52.64 square miles with a population of 90,721. Boca Raton, ranks second with 83, 760 residents. The smallest municipality in area is Briny Breezes. It covers about four-tenths of one square mile and has an estimated population of 418 residents. The smallest town in terms of population is Cloud Lake with 172 residents. ECONOMICS: Median Household Income… $51,677 Poverty Rate… 10.65 % Average Rate of Unemployment… 4.30 % Total Labor Force... 639,916 Family Households with Children… 315,798 DATA SOURCES: Palm Beach County Department of Planning, Zoning and Building Planning Division and the Palm Beach County Office of Public Affairs. Where we are: 2008 Regions and Circuits Charlie Crist Governor George Sheldon Secretary Your Department of Children and Families Circuit 15 is supported by its Regional Administration Office in Broward County, Florida and its Central Office Headquarters in Tallahassee. Circuit 15 is one of 20 Circuits statewide within the Department’s organizational structure, which is aligned with the state’s Judicial Court Circuits. Circuit 15 operates out of its Administrative Office, 111 So. Sapodilla Avenue in West Palm Beach, Florida and two Service Centers: Lake Worth Service Center, 4220 Lake Worth Road; Lake Worth; and Belle Glade Service Center, 2990 No. Main Street, Belle Glade. End of year Financials… Florida Department of Children & Families Circuit 15 — Palm Beach County Budget Entity: Budget Amount: DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION………………………………………………... CHILD CARE REGULATION/INFORMATION..…………………………... ADULT PROTECTION……………………………………………………………. CHILD PROTECTION/PERMANENCY……………………………………….. FAMILY SAFETY PRESERVATION PROGRAM MGT/COMPLIANCE... ADULT COMMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH…………………………………. 1,098,602 200,022 2,057,073 46,901,031 601,800 16,787,520 CHILD MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES………………………………………... MENTAL HEALTH PROGRAM MANAGEMENT/COMPLIANCE……….. SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROGRAM MANAGEMENT/COMPLIANCE……. CHILD SUBSTANCE ABUSE PREVENTION/SERVICES………………... ADULT SUBSTANCE ABUSE SERVICES…………………………………….. COMPREHENSIVE ELIGIBILITY SERVICES………………………………. FRAUD BENEFIT/BENEFIT RECOVERY…………………………………….. SPECIAL ASSISTANCE PAYMENT…………………………………………….. 3,901,347 458,567 83,833 4,376,645 8,118,423 10,009,171 510,138 196,568 $ 95,300,739 Circuit 15 Budget Expenditures by Percentage July 31, 2007 — June 30, 2008 FRAUD BENEFIT/BENEFIT RECOVERY 1% COMPREHENSIVE ELIGIBILITY SERVICES 11% OTHER 2% DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION 1% ADULT PROTECTION 2% ADULT SUBSTANCE ABUSE SERVICES 9% CHILD SUB ABUSE PREVENTION 5% CHILD PROTECTION AND PERMANENCY 48% CHILD MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES 4% ADULT COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH 17% CICUIT 15 FISCAL YEAR 2008 ANNUAL BUDGET $ 95,300,739 ...TRANSPARENCY THE COMMUNITY ALLIANCE OF PALM BEACH COUNTY AND THE DEPARTMENT — WORKING TOGETHER FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES The Community Alliance of Palm Beach County, is a diverse group of child and family advocates comprised of stakeholders, community leaders, client representatives and funders of human services. This Leadership group meets regularly, and serves as a catalyst for the development of resources including state, federal, and private grants, and stakeholder sponsorships. Dedicated members consistently lobby and market the need for increased services to support and strengthen families. Voting Members: Judge Kathleen J. Kroll 15th Judicial Circuit Court Chair Community Alliance of Palm Beach County Scott Badesh — United Way of Palm Beach County James Barr — Florence Fuller Child Development Centers Robert Bertisch — Legal Aid of Palm Beach Rev. Alex Bess — Faith-based member Perry Borman — Florida Department of Children and Families Ric Bradshaw — Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Laura Corry — Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Pamela Dunston-Tomlinson — Community Alliance of Palm Beach County Tana Ebbole — Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County Karis Engle — Glades Initiative Marsha Fishbane — Palm Beach County Health Department Debi Gavras — Palm Beach County Health Care District Paul Gionfriddo — Quantum Foundation, Inc. Bill Graham — Palm Beach County School Board Carey Haughwout — Public Defender Barry Krischer — State Attorney Mary McCarty — Palm Beach County Commissioner Erin McColskey — Palm Beach Community College Ike Powell — Workforce Alliance, Inc. James Titcomb — League of Cities George Woodley — Department of Children and Families Judith Warren — Child and Family Connections, Inc. Non- Voting Members: Matt Immler — City of Boynton Beach; and Feirmon Johnson — Department of Juvenile Justice. In FY08 the Community Alliance has been instrumental in: ! ! ! ! ! ! Establishing a joint committee with the Department to restructure and effectively improve outcomes of the Protective Investigators and the Lead Agency to better serve children in the Dependency system; Fostering a mentor program to help support teens aging out of the foster care system as they prepare for adulthood; Establishing a Prevention Committee, aimed at supporting children and families with community services to prevent involvement in the dependency and court systems; Implementing Family Court — to streamline and address judicial matters in one setting when children and adults living in the same family unit are involved; Installing “Rocket-Docket,” a vehicle that expedites the processing of cases in the Dependency system to achieve permanency for children more quickly; And, Investigating programs to foster parent/child bonding and aid families with mental health issues. CHILD LEGAL SERVICES AT WORK Children’s Legal Services represents the State of Florida, by and through the Florida Department of Children and Families to ensure the health and safety of children and the integrity of families. The State of Florida has the awesome responsibility of protecting children who have been abused, abandoned and/or neglected. The Children’s Legal Services attorneys, together with the State’s Lead Agencies, case management providers and protective investigators, are charged with carrying out that responsibility. Children’s Legal Services is in the prosecution arm of the Dependency System. When children don’t go home due to risk of abuse, neglect, abandonment… Often, relatives and non-relative members of the community step forward offering to open their homes to these children. At times, when relatives or others are not located, or are not determined as suitable candidates to fit the unique needs of the child, the child is placed in a licensed group, shelter facility or a licensed foster home. A Foster Home serves as a safe place for children to continue to thrive and grow, while parents and caseworkers work on meeting provisions set by the Courts in case plans. Some children under Protective Supervision remain living at home with support services in place to help families strengthen and become successful. To learn more about fostering or adopting a child in Palm Beach County, please call, 1-800-981-KIDS. Meet Michelle Moore — Senior Attorney Advocating for families in Court... one child at a time What inspires Michelle Moore is helping children find permanence: Whether back in the home of their parents, a relative or with an adoptive forever home. “It gives me peace of mind and a feeling of great satisfaction with my work,” said Michelle, a DCF Attorney and employee of eight years. With so many vulnerable children in Palm Beach County looking to the Department for safety, Michelle approaches cases with the mission of Children’s Legal Services at the forefront: To represent the best interest and welfare of children in the State’s custody. Said Michelle, “The children we serve are all wonderful, bright and loving children despite the circumstances they find themselves in… they just want to be loved and cared for.” ACCOUNTABILITY PROTECTING CHILDREN In April — National Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month — the Department of Children and Families partners with the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida and Prevent Child Abuse Florida, to remind residents about resources in place in communities to help strengthen and support families. Pinwheel displays throughout Palm Beach County and state-wide — represent a change in the way residents think about preventing child abuse and neglect, and an invitation to the community to become actively involved in supporting our neighbors. To learn more about resources for families in Palm Beach County, please call, 1800-FLA-LOVE or 211. The Circuit investigated 12,493 allegations of child abuse and/or neglect in FY08. Of these, 13.39% were *verified, 23.04% were closed with **some indicators, 53.79% had ***no indicators, and 9.78% were closed with no findings. *Verified is the term used to define when credible evidence results in a determination that specific injury, harm or threatened harm was the result of abuse and/or neglect. **Some indicators is the term used to define when there is credible evidence, which does not meet the standard to support that the specific injury, harm or threatened harm is the result of abuse or neglect. ***No indicators is the term used to define when there is no credible evidence to support the allegations of abuse, neglect or threatened harm. STRENGTHENING FAMILIES Meet Deborah Sperringer Child Protective Investigator and Rapid Response Team Member On the front-line... keeping kids safe. When a report of suspected abuse or neglect comes into the abuse hotline — alleged to have happened in a school, day care center or foster home — Deborah Sperringer responds. She has been working to keep children safe in Florida for 10 years now. Deborah is committed to the responsibility of her role and attributes her success in helping families to what she calls her personal best trade tools: “Dedication, humor and frankness,” she said. She feels by keeping open-lines of communication and providing families with explanations during investigations assists them in resolving their personal situation in the best way possible. “What would surprise people about the clients I assist,” she said, “is that despite the circumstances that bring me into situations, at the end of everything, most people appreciate the process of assessing and evaluating the allegations, and the work to ensure the safety of their children and others.” Rapid Response… Each week, a team of four Child Protective Investigators rotate on a 24-hour-on-call schedule. When an unexpected child death or critical injury case occurs, Department investigators go out to the scene with members of Palm Beach County Law Enforcement to assist in the investigation. This team approach minimizes the number of interviews necessary to gain information and lessens the degree of emotional conflict and distress experienced by families. Department staff and members of Law Enforcement meet quarterly with a representative of the State Attorney’s Office to review cases and to discuss the effectiveness of the Rapid Response Protocol system in place. This Protocol, unique to Palm Beach County, serves as a state-wide model of a community collaboration at work to serve children and families. To report suspected abuse, neglect and/or abandonment of children in the community, call: 1-800-96–ABUSE. INNOVATIONS IN CHILD WELFARE Service Referral Internet Portal Last year, the Department of Children and Families investigated over 10,000 reports of child abuse or neglect. Over 80% of these cases did not result in verified findings of abuse or neglect, and even fewer resulted in the removal of a child. Nevertheless, many of the families encountered needed referrals for voluntary or diversionary services. In fact, in just a 3-month period, Child Protective Investigators made over 2,000 referrals of this type. While the Department routinely studies the cases and the services delivered where children are removed — it has not traditionally examined its voluntary referral process with the same critical lens. The Department and its Community Based Care Partner, Child and Family Connections, Inc., have discovered inefficiencies with the way most referrals are made via facsimile on all cases including those involved with the dependency system. To better understand and refine the service delivery to those families and correct these inefficiencies, the Department, together with Child and Family Connections, Inc., is building a Service Referral Internet Portal, (S.R.I.P.) This system will allow simultaneous electronic referrals to multiple agencies, create an automatic feedback loop providing real-time updates that Dependency Case Managers and Child Protective Investigators can use to inform decision making, and provide cost savings by eliminating duplicate referrals and payment for services that were never provided. The S.R.I.P. will also increase accountability by providing Department and CFC Supervisors with reporting features for all staff and at-a-glance visual depictions of the service engagement for families involved with either agency. Community Service Providers will keep information about their individual program current and all information maintained in a centralized location to provide access to the most appropriate fit for services and avoid duplication. Improved reporting features will highlight the relative success of the organizations working with all families involved in the system. FAMILY SAFETY In April — National Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month — the Department of Children and Families dons blue ribbons to remind residents about the importance of reporting suspected abuse, neglect and/or abandonment of community children. Law Enforcement Pilot: Though Palm Beach County has long been recognized as a leader regarding the joint role of Law Enforcement in the Department of Children and Families’ Child Abuse Investigations, two local agencies are expanding on this commitment. Beginning in October, Greenacres Public Safety and the Lantana Police Department have begun conducting extra, unannounced visits to homes looking for alleged abuse perpetrators who have been Court-ordered out of the home or have agreed to leave the home as a result of the Department’s involvement. This represents an unprecedented formalized partnership where Law Enforcement has agreed to go beyond the joint investigation for criminal purposes, and also to assist the Department with the protection of the vulnerable. Though this program is only just beginning, the Department and Law Enforcement expect it will result in increased accountability for the perpetrators of Domestic Violence, and will aid in the investigation and prosecution of sexual abuse cases. Many thanks to Barry Krischer, State Attorney In and For Palm Beach County, Chief Rick Lincoln and Director Phillip Ludos for their commitment to this initiative. ...INTEGRITY CARING FOR THE STATE’S CHILDREN Child and Family Connections, Inc… is the Department of Children and Families’ contracted Lead Community-based Agency. It provides a full spectrum of child welfare services to children who enter the foster care system in Palm Beach County. With a budget of over $33 million FY08, it continues to serve as the overarching strategy to build partnerships in the community and improve the quality of outcomes for the most vulnerable children and families. The Lead Agency contract, throughout the State system — is the Department’s largest contracted agency. Thinking about `exploring adoption?’ Matching Florida’s children in care to Floridians who will open their hearts and homes to them is the aim of Governor Charlie Crist’s Explore Adoption Initiative. Throughout Florida, teenagers, brothers and sisters, and medically-needy children are all looking for families who will embrace them and experience the unique rewards of adoption. To learn more, visit, www.adoptFlorida.org — or call, 1-800-981-KIDS. One Church, One Child of Florida, Inc. is a national not for profit licensed child placing agency and is a member of National One Church, One Child. One Church, One Child operates in approximately 32 states. The program was established in 1980 in Chicago, Illinois in response to the critical need to recruit permanent homes for African American children who over represented and tend to take longer to adopt than any other race of children. Although the program's primary focus and efforts are on recruiting African American families, it has recruited and continue to recruit for all children. One Church, One Child of Florida, Inc. aggressively advocates on behalf of children who are in the state's foster care system to have a loving and permanent home. These are the most vulnerable children for which One Church, One Child of Florida, inc. encourages families to consider adopting because every child needs a family that help them to develop to their fullest potential. 1-800-981– KIDS ... to join the 260 families in Palm Beach County who opened their hearts and homes to children in need of foster care. Place of Hope brings hope to children and families — My name is Stephanie and I am a 14-year-old girl from Haiti who came to a local group home because of violence in my home. My parents neglecting me, and my parents always were smoking up some kind of drugs. After what they called a “traumatizing” past — I was moved from home to home and no one ever wanting me to stay longer than a few months. That’s when I was brought to a group home. I never thought they would actually keep me longer than a few months. I especially did not think I would ever be in the same place as my younger sister, but can you believe it? In 2003, my sister came to the group home too! And, then, to make things even better, my older sister came in 2005! I know most kids my age want expensive gifts for their birthdays, but all I wanted was to live in the same house with my sisters, and I got it! We are able to see each other every day. I like how it feels to have a real family and that is enough for me. I feel I am off to a good start after being in the same place for six years. I am thankful for loving people and a loving environment. I am also thankful to God for his faithfulness. I don’t know where I would have been without them. Everyone calls me Joseph and I just turned 10. I have been in a foster home since June. I had to leave my family because the police said that it was unsafe to be there. They said that I couldn’t be around all the yelling, hitting, and abusive behavior. The fact that my parents did drugs all the time did not help either. It was tough to leave, but I am beginning to see what it is like to feel safe and to not be woken up in the middle of night to people who are rough and angry with me and high. I feel like I can sleep without worrying, and that feels good. My foster dad actually takes time to pray with me daily! I can’t believe he wants to spend so much time with ME. I am beginning to know that my foster family really does care for me and that they aren’t going to make me leave. I still visit my real mother and I let her know how much I like my foster family. I think that is hard for her, and I miss her, but it just feels right to be in this safe and loving home. I am so happy where I am and want to thank the people who brought me to this family. The long-running series airs on the first Thursday of each month in WPTV’s 5 o’clock p.m. news program, and highlights children in Florida’s Foster care system, available for adoption. The station is a true educational partner of Department, highlighting the children featured and offering links to the Heart Gallery on its website: WPTV.com. Jim Sackett, anchor, WPTV-Channel 5, (NBC) makes the station’s Thursday’s Child” series his own by meeting each child profiled in person. WPTV-Channel 5 (NBC) … continues to serve as a celebrated media partner with its commitment to community education … through its “Thursday’s Child” series. “It’s about spreading awareness so that people realize these kids are right in front of them.” — Jim Sackett Anchor, WPTV-Channel 5 Shining volunteerism brings ‘light’ to families in Palm Beach In March, Governor Charlie Crist awarded Linda Coffin a Point of Light recipient for outstanding volunteerism. Linda, a board member of the Heart Gallery of Palm Beach County was honored for her instrumental work in establishing the Heart Galleries traveling portrait collection. “Linda’s commitment to helping foster children in Palm Beach County, find their ‘forever home’ is truly amazing,” said Governor Crist. “Her constant effort to help children in need has not gone unnoticed by her family or her community.” Linda’s passion for helping children is further exemplified by the fact that she has served as a foster parent for 21 infants and toddlers over the past 10 years. Linda and John Coffin Heart Gallery Volunteer Governor’s Point of Light Recipient The Heart Gallery can be seen throughout the county in local malls, community centers, and museums and works closely with Adoption providers, and community stakeholders throughout Palm Beach County. Please visit: www.heartgallerypbc.org/, or call,561-697-5205. Lead Agency Highlights FY08 — The Circuit saw a 44% drop in the number of children entering out of home care in FY08 with the numbers of children last year at 934 compared to 527 this year — diversionary services kept them safe and Children in Shelter Status were reduced by 70%; 176 children were adopted; The total number of children served reduced by nearly 25 % as Dependency Case Managers were able to achieve such permanency outcomes as finding adoptive homes for our most vulnerable children or by returning them home safely to their biological families. Children in Care 2007-2008 Residental Group Care 9% In Home Post Placement 15% In Home Not Placed 16% Other 5% Shelter 2% Relative Care 34% Foster Care 19% Child and Family Connection, Inc. FY08 — An encouraging year of Transition “It is an exciting time in child welfare to be a part of the State’s privatization movement,” said Judith Warren, Chief Executive Officer of Child and Family Connections, Inc. the Lead Agency for Palm Beach County. “The organization, established in 2001, has seen improved outcomes for children since its inception, including lower case loads for the front-line case worker, increased adoptions and reduced lengths of stay for children in the foster care system. The county has enjoyed rich partnership with the community, and service provider agencies who support our most vulnerable children. Judith Warren “Moving forward, we will continue to strive for excellence for our children and the communities we serve.” Chief Executive Officer Child and Family Connections, Inc. 115 105 — A decrease in removals combined with increased utilization of foster beds — Resulted in 72% reduction in shelter care. Total Number of Childre Children in Shelter Care in FY08 95 105 103 93 85 75 75 65 55 45 35 29 25 2004 2005 2006 2007 Year # of Adoptions Finalized Adoptions Finalized 2006-2008 In FY06,168 children were adopted in Palm Beach County; FY 2008 In FY07,132 children were adopted in Palm Beach County; FY 2007 FY 2006 0 50 100 150 200 In FY08, 176 children were adopted in Palm Beach County. 2008 IN YOUR COMMUNITY In October, the Department of Children & Families partners with community agencies and organizations to spread awareness about programs and services available to aid residents victimized by domestic violence. Members of the community wear purple ribbons as a sign of unified support for victims of domestic violence. Meet Sharon “Cherie” Chierco Adult Protective Investigator Supervisor Secretary of the Palm Beach County Domestic Violence Council Actively involved in community collaborations that bring help to families in need In addition to reviewing cases and supervising a team of protective investigators, Sharon Chierco thrives in her volunteer community leadership role as Secretary of the Palm Beach County Domestic Violence Council. “The Council’s goal is to bring together a network of support agencies that aid families victimized by domestic violence at home,” said Cherie, A Department employee of 15 years. “Together, we represent a wealth of information about services available in the community to assist families who need them.” Department investigations into allegations of abuse and/or neglect, whether adults or children, often find domestic violence at the root. “Our resources support casework in a critical way,” Cherie said, “and it is a passion of mine to let everyone know that help is a phone call away.” Domestic Violence Confidential Helpline: 1-800-973-9922 or 800–355-8547. To report suspected abuse, neglect and/or exploitation of adults and aging members of the community, call: 1-800-96–ABUSE. ...SENSE OF URGENCY SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND MENTAL HEALTH PROGRAM OFFICE The Circuit 15 Substance Abuse and Mental Health (SAMH) Program Office is responsible for the operational management of substance abuse and mental health services throughout Palm Beach County. The office contracts with community agencies to provide an array of mental health services for Palm Beach County children and adults like case management, in-home and outpatient- based counseling, day treatment, psychiatric services, residential services, inpatient/crisis stabilization, and specialized therapeutic foster care/residential placement for children. The Circuit 15 SAMH Program Office is also responsible for substance abuse licensure, regulation, and contracting which plays a significant role in the provision of effective substance abuse treatment services. During FY08, figures indicate more than 37,000 people have received substance abuse or mental health services in Palm Beach County. Fy 2007/2008 Children's Substance Abuse Adult Substance Abuse Children's Mental Health Adult Mental Health 0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000 12000 14000 16000 In FY08, 1,733 adults and 14,659 children have received Substance Abuse services. In FY08, 7,265 adults and 7,513 children have received Mental Health services. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Program Office (SAMH) continues to work with community-based service provider agencies to transform public substance abuse and mental health programs and services — to a consumer- and family-driven system that embraces prevention, resiliency and recovery as guiding principles. In FY07, the agency developed a Consumer Advisory Council, comprised of consumers and/or family members. During FY08, the Council provided input into service provision and assisted with programmatic monitoring sessions. The Circuit 15 SAMH Program Office in Palm Beach County, through the Consumer Advisory Council, took part in the Underage Drinking Forum held in March and hosted two community awareness events that drew 2800 individuals and families. For additional information, please call (561) 650-6860. SUPPORTING FAMILIES THROUGH SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND MENTAL HEALTH PROGRAMS Meet Angie Vyas Contract Manager Committed to increasing awareness about substance abuse and mental health services available in our community. Angie Vyas wants people to realize that many people in our local community are afflicted by mental health and substance abuse issues. And, that it’s important to talk about it. “Most people do not realize the people that the Department of Children and Families assists represent all stratums of our community, regardless of age and socio-economic demographics,” said Angie, a one-year Department employee. “Even more astounding is just how many people are able to get the treatment they need to improve their lives.” As a liaison between the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Program Office and its Service Providers, she assists this community resource network with matters concerning everything from the monitoring of facilities to the reconciliation of contract funding. She also serves as acting Children’s Behavioral Network liaison, helping to find appropriate community services for children. “It would amaze people to know the volume of services we provide as an agency while still maintaining such high standards,” said Angie. “When you see the quality of somebody’s life improve, there is no better inspiration.” In May’s Mental Health Month, women from Panda Residential Treatment Program at the Oakwood Center of the Palm Beaches, Inc. enjoyed a day of fun at Calypso Bay Water Park in West Palm Beach, sponsored by the Department of Children and Families and the Substance Abuse Coalition of Palm Beach County. Panda provides services for women during their pregnancies and with their newborn babies. Taking Pride in our Work Dennis Miles, Director of Administrative Services for the Department in Circuit 15, and Dotlin Williamson, the Circuit’s Client Relations Coordinator, graduated from the Certified Public Managers course in August. Dennis has worked for the agency for five years. He oversees all administrative and support services for the Circuit — including Client Relations, Community Relations, Communications, Financial Management, Facility Management and Disaster Planning. Dotlin has been with the Department for 26 years, starting as an Eligibility Specialist and working up the ranks to her current position. Dotlin troubleshoots breakdowns in the Automated Community Connection to Economic Self-Sufficiency (ACCESS) delivery system, focusing priorities on the elderly, vulnerable, and families in crisis. Dotlin receives and responds to correspondence from the Governor, the Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation, and concerned citizens. She strives daily to insure quality services are delivered with empathy and compassion. KIDS To Work Day 2008 New Hire Jeffrey Garcia cheerfully assists a client at the Riviera Beach Service Center. Jeffrey is one of 150 employees to join the Department’s workforce in Florida this year — as a part of a state-wide initiative: Operation Full Employment. The Department has long recognized the spirit and talent of the young men and women who participate in the Department’s Independent Living Program. As former foster youth and aspiring adults — they each bring valuable insight about services to the job. To date, through Operation Full Employment, six youth have joined the Department ’s workforce in Circuit 15 — Palm Beach County as employees. The Independent Living Program focuses on preparing children for the future as independent adults outside of the foster care system. It targets 13 –17year-olds who are likely to age-out of the foster care system and continues to serve 18-23-year-olds who have exited state care and are receiving assistance. Cassie Elliott, age 12 spent the day at work with mom Janice, an Adult Services Counselor, during April’s Kids to Work Day activities at the Department’s Administrative Headquarters in West Palm Beach. Thank you to all of the wonderful, dedicated people who serve the community by volunteering with the Department of Children & Families, throughout the year. Each April — National Volunteer Recognition Month — a special awards ceremony honors each of the volunteers who have helped to serve children and families in Palm Beach County with their valued donation of time and commitment. In FY 08, Department of Children & Families staff in Circuit 15 raised $12,310.00 to benefit local charities in Palm Beach County. Each Fall, Department staff host “fun-raiser” activities and turn in pledge forms committing payroll deductions and cash donations in this unified, collective effort to help residents in need. This two-week effort — the Florida State Employees’ Charitable Campaign — FSECC — is the only State – sponsored fundraising campaign that takes place among State employees. The United Way of Palm Beach County serves proudly each year, in support of the campaign, as its Fiscal Agent. Celebrating differences... Year-round, the Department of Children & Families in Circuit 15 recognizes the richness and benefit of a diverse, unique staff. Each February, staff celebrate differences with a traditional multicultural luncheon and gala. Pictured at right is: Sandra Powell, Adult Mental Health Specialist with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Program Office. ...ORIENTATION TO ACTION We know it’s not easy keeping food on the table… Food Stamps can help. HOW MUCH CAN YOU EARN AND STILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR FOOD STAMPS? See chart below for Federal Gross Income Limits. Household Size: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Gross Monthly Income: ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. ………. Pilot in Belle Glade provides emergency food stamps on-site, in time of need. This year, people eligible as a hardship case for food Stamp benefits, now can receive their Electronic Benefit Transaction (EBT) card — on-site, in immediacy. Until now, approved applicants would sometimes wait five to seven days for their benefits card to arrive through the mail. Phase Two of the Pilot involves an anticipated expansion following and analyses to determine the feasibility of extending this program to all food stamps applicants in the state. To date, over 300 residents have benefited from the Pilot. It began in May 2008. $1,127 $1,517 $1,907 $2,297 $2,687 $3,077 $ 3,467 What does a Food Stamp look like? Like a Debit Card. Customer benefits are deposited into personal accounts monthly. When it’s time to pay for your groceries, just swipe, and enter your personal PIN code. It’s that easy. To pre-screen for eligibility, visit: www.myflorida.com/ accessflorida. Thank you to the more than 150 community agencies and organizations that partner with the Department of Children & Families by sharing internet ACCESS and computers with members of the community. Apply for Food Stamps, Cash Assistance and/or Medicaid at the following locations in your Palm Beach County neighborhood: In Northern Palm Beach County: Federation of Families of PBC 3333 Avenue “I”, Riviera Beach, FL 33404 561 863-9848 FL Resource Center for Women 1923 Broadway, Riviera Beach, FL 33404 561 848-8383 PBC Community Health Alliance 901 Northpoint Pkwy, Suite 109, WPB, FL 33407 561 712-1 Spanish Spoken 561 712-1799 Riviera Beach Family Resource Center 1901 Broadway, Riviera Beach, FL 33404 561 840- 561 840-1888 West Riviera Elementary Beacon Center 1057 W. 6th Street, Riviera Beach, FL 33404 561 714-4572 Northmore Elementary Beacon Center 4111 N. Terrace Dr., Portable 9, WPB, FL 33407 561 840-3106 In Southern Palm Beach County: Guatemalan Maya Center 110 N. “F” Street, Lake Worth, FL 33460 Spanish Spoken, 561-547-0085 Coalition for Independent Living Options 6800 Forest Hill Blvd., WPB, FL 33413 Any Disability 561 966-4288 Community Caring Center 145 NE 4th Ave., Boynton Beach, FL 33425 561 364-9501 Minority Development & Empowerment 3175 S. Congress Ave., Palm Springs, FL 33461 Creole Spoken Here 561-296-5722 Haitian Citizen United Task Force 1012 S. Dixie Hwy., Lake Worth, FL 33460 Creole Spoken Here 561 255-4445 FAU Wellness Center 301 SW 14th Ave., Delray Beach, FL 33444 Spanish & Creole Spoken Here 561-243-1573 West Lake Worth Community Center 4730 Maine St., Lake worth, FL 33461 561 649-9600 United Way Prosperity Center 141 SW 12th Ave., Delray Beach, FL 33444 561 243-7630 In Central Palm Beach County: Christian Caring Center 1119 S. Flagler Drive, WPB, FL 33401 561 650-7400 Esereh Youth & Family Center 2200 N. Florida Mango Road, WPB, FL 33409 Creole Spoken Here 561 357-5630 Knowledge Is Power 3600 Broadway, WPB, FL 33407 561 845-1919 Extended Hands Outreach 528 Cheerful St. WPB, FL 33407 561 315-5463 FAU Wellness Center 1650 Osceola Dr., WPB, FL 33409 Spanish & Creole Spoken Here 561-616-4101 Urban League Prosperity Center 1700 N. Australian Ave., WPB, FL 33407 561 274-6089 Vickers House—City of West Palm Beach 811 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd., WPB, FL 33401 Spanish Spoken Here 561 835-7030 West Palm Beach Public Library 100 Clematis St., WPB, FL 33401 In Western Palm Beach County: SW Belle Glade Weed & Seed 224 SW 5th Street, Belle Glade, FL 33430 561 996-4220 Pahokee Beacon Center 560 W. Main St., Suite 8, Pahokee, FL 33476 Spanish Spoken Here 561 924-3008 American Care 1301 South Main St., Belle Glade, FL 33430 Spanish Spoken Here 561 992-4357 … COMMON SENSE PROMOTING ECONOMIC STABILITY Meet George Lopez Economic Specialist Committed to the Department’s high standard of service As a boy, George Lopez remembers visiting Department of Children & Families service centers with his mother, applying for economic assistance. “I understand the courage it takes to walk into those front doors and ask for help,” said, George, a Department employee of two and a half years. “I can understand and relate to the pain that they are going through.” Each day, George meets his responsibility to determine eligibility for clients in need of Food Stamps and Medicaid with a hands-on approach and positive attitude. Whether approaching day to day tasks, or taking on new challenges, he strives to master his craft. “There is so much to learn… but this is a challenge I am up for I am up for every day,” George said. Each day on the job is different with each person that walks into the Lake Worth Service Center. George remembers one day in particular when he helped a woman struggling to keep food on the table to feed her family. “She was going through a really tough time in her personal life and was basically breaking down,” he said. “I introduced her to the people who run our food pantry, and they gave her enough food to make it – until her benefits kicked in. Her tears turned into joy knowing that she would be just fine.” Said George, “I’ll never forget that day.” The Circuit issued $7,104,917 in Food Stamps benefits on a monthly basis and $485,111 in Cash Assistance benefits. The dollar amount of Food Stamps benefits issued this year, represents an increase of 35.5% when compared to last year. The number of families receiving benefits from the Medicaid, Food Stamps and Cash Assistance programs increased by 13.52% from a year ago, with the biggest increase in the Food Stamps Program at 26.83% from one year ago. Supported Employment Program in Palm Beach County Agency for Persons with Disabilities — APD — in the news This year, the Agency for Persons With Disabilities — a separate, specialized agency serving families in Palm Beach County, under the leadership of Area 9 Administrator Gerry Driscol — helped roughly 300 people living with disabilities in Palm Beach County to become competitively employed through its Supported Employment Program. Supported Employment serves people who, because of the extent of their disability, are expected to need assistance to obtain ongoing supports indefinitely to maintain employment. APD- funded services are individualized according to need and desires for people who are seeking to obtain and maintain successful employment among the integrated workforce. commitment to hiring and keeping people with disabilities on their payroll,” DeBeaugrine said. Palm Beach County resident, Albert Brewster, who works at a Wendy’s restaurant in Palm Beach County, knows how good it feels to reap the rewards of a hard day’s work. He was recognized for amazing his boss and inspiring his co-workers with his exceptional performance on the job. “The customers are always approaching me about how clean the restaurant is," said Lenny Solano, the restaurant's general manager. "They say that they will drive out of their way to come here because they're more comfortable... Albert contributes to our success in a significant way." In October, Disability Employment Awareness Month, Governor Charlie Crist, joined the APD, Florida Vocational Rehabilitation, and the Agency for Work Force Innovation, in recognizing businesses from across the state committed to hiring people with Disabilities. Six businesses were awarded the Florida Exceptional Employer Award. K-Mart — Palm Beach County — “These workers are extremely reliable and committed to their jobs, “DeBeaugrine said. was among the distinguished list of recipients. “It just makes good business sense to Jim DeBeaugrine, state-wide director of the include employing individuals with disabilities in a company’s hiring practices.” APD, handed out the honors. “We are excited to Recognize businesses that have made a significant Meet Bill Shea Supervisor Agency for Persons with Disabilities Dedicated to serving residents with disabilities When Bill Shea leaves his post this year, he will have marked 35-years of service to families with developmental disabilities. “I am happy and blessed for the opportunity to help people and having a career in the Social Service field,” Bill said. Among Bill’s long list of achievements, is his service on the Youth Transition Council; committee work for Disability Mentoring Day; and his ability to set up community services with people involved in the Criminal Justice System to prevent their incarceration. Said Bill, “If you can help a child with severe behavior issues that may be pulling a family apart, then you are helping everyone in that family stay together.” Each year... the Department of Children & Families in Circuit 15 is pleased to join the Children's Services Council of Palm Beach County's Mentor Center in it's ongoing effort to increase quality mentoring opportunities for school-aged youth and teens. The Mentor Center serves as resource for the community by provide training, consultation, networking opportunities, and resources to all emerging or established mentoring programs. They also refer potential mentors to local programs by matching the skills and abilities of adult mentors to the unique needs of our children. To learn more, please visit www.cscpbc.org/mentoring or call 1-877-B-A-Friend. Affordable Health Care for Every Child… is the message of the Florida KidCare Program and making sure that Palm Beach County children get the health care they need is what brings together members of the government, school and nonprofit community each year, for back-to-school celebrations to deliver the message in person to hundreds of families who attend. True friends to the children are LaBovick & LaBovick, a private law firm, and the Terranova Corporation, who donate a collection of new supplies of backpacks, pencils and notebooks at the events, to help make going back to school an exciting, new school-year experience. Florida covering Kids and Families, the KidCare Coalition, KidFinders Network and the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County led the effort with the Department in FY08, to bring the message of health care for every child — to Palm Beach County residents. Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida, the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Palm Beach County, Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue and Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County... teamed this Summer with the Department of Children & Families, to talk about drowning as a leading cause of death among children. In a June program at Lake Lytal Pool in West Palm Beach, Department of Children and Families Circuit 15 Administrator Perry Borman thanked the community, Palm Beach County’s Fire Rescue and Drowning Prevention Coalition and the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County for its joint commitment to prevention. County Commissioner Robert Kanjian, Marlene Passell of the Children’s Services Council and Anna Stewart of the Drowning Prevention Coalition also took to the podium to invite the community to take advantage of lifesaving water safety programs available in Palm Beach County. To learn more about affordable and free water safety programs at work in Palm Beach County, please call 561-616-7068 or visit www.pbcgov.com/dpc. The Department of Children & Families is proud to be a community partner in the effort to protect and preserve the environment. Project Green has Department of Children and Families employees throughout Florida — learning about and promoting reasons through awareness and action for a greener tomorrow. Won’t you join us ? ...COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS Department of Children & Families Guiding Principles: Integrity Leadership Transparency Accountability Community Partnerships Orientation to Action Office of Circuit Administration 111 So. Sapodilla Ave. West Palm Beach, Florida . 33401 . 561-837-5078 Lake Worth Service Center 4220 Lake Worth Road Lake Worth, Florida 33461 561-963-3000 Belle Glade Service Center 2990 No. Main Street Belle Glade, Florida 33430 561-992-1900 Protect the vulnerable, promote strong and economically self-sufficient families, and advance personal and family recovery and resiliency.
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