Annual Report to the Community

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
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
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.
Protect the vulnerable, promote strong and
economically self-sufficient families, and advance personal and family
recovery and resiliency.
The Department of Children and
Families is committed to Integrity, Leadership, Transparency, Accountability,
Community Partnerships and Orientation to Action.
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.
Median Household Income…
Poverty Rate…
10.65 %
Average Rate of Unemployment…
4.30 %
Total Labor Force...
Family Households with Children…
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
George Sheldon
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………………………………………………...
ADULT PROTECTION…………………………………………………………….
Circuit 15 Budget Expenditures by Percentage
July 31, 2007 — June 30, 2008
$ 95,300,739
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
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.
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.”
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.
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
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.
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
examined its voluntary
referral process with the same critical
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
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.
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.
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
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, —
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
I am also thankful to God for his faithfulness. I
don’t know where I would have been without
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
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
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:
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:, 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
Group Care
In Home Post
In Home Not Placed
Foster Care
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.
A decrease in removals combined
with increased utilization of foster
beds —
Resulted in 72% reduction in shelter
Total Number of Childre
Children in Shelter Care in FY08
# 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
In FY08, 176 children
were adopted in Palm
Beach County.
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.
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
Substance Abuse
Adult Substance
Children's Mental
Adult Mental Health
In FY08, 1,733
adults and
14,659 children
have received
Substance Abuse
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.
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
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.
We know it’s not easy keeping food on the table…
Food Stamps can help.
FOOD STAMPS? See chart below for Federal Gross Income Limits.
Household Size:
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.
$ 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,
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
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
“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
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 or call
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
The Department of Children & Families
is proud to be a community partner in the
effort to protect and preserve the
Project Green has Department of Children
and Families employees throughout Florida —
learning about and promoting reasons
through awareness and action for a greener
Won’t you join us ?
Department of Children & Families
Guiding Principles:
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
Belle Glade Service Center
2990 No. Main Street
Belle Glade, Florida 33430
Protect the vulnerable, promote strong and
economically self-sufficient families, and advance
personal and family recovery and resiliency.