Florida Shares Success Stories in Nation’s Capital
Department of Children and Families’ Adoption and Food Stamp Programs Serve as National Models
Tallahassee, Fla. – National leaders will learn more this week about Florida’s efficient, compassionate and successful efforts to protect the state’s most vulnerable.
The Department of Children and Families (DCF) senior leadership team, Secretary George Sheldon and Deputy Secretary Don Winstead, were invited to Washington D.C. to testify this week before two separate subcommittees on the success of programs that protect Florida families.
“In the past four years, thanks to the hard work and diligent professionalism of the department’s 13,000-plus employees and our many community-based partners, Florida’s most vulnerable children and adults can dream of a brighter future,” Secretary Sheldon said. “We welcome the opportunity to share these successes in our nation’s Capital.”
Secretary Sheldon is scheduled to speak on Thursday to the U.S. House Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support about Florida’s Title IV–E waiver. Florida was the first state granted the waiver which allows the Department to focus funding on a wide variety of child welfare solutions rather than being restricted solely to foster care.
Since January 2007, the department has safely reduced the number of foster children by 36 percent while achieving record-setting adoption levels and permanent guardianships. Child safety has improved and the department’s performance on the national outcome measure for the absence of the recurrence of abuse has improved from 89 percent in 2006 to 93 percent at the end of 2009.
Deputy Secretary Winstead is scheduled to speak Wednesday before a subcommittee of the U.S. House’s Committee on Agriculture. Speaking on behalf of the American Public Human Services Association, Winstead will speak about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). One of the most important support systems for low-income individuals and families, Florida’s food stamp program currently serves more than 2.7 million Floridians, a 126 percent increase from 1.2 million clients in April 2007. Despite rising caseloads, the department has received federal bonuses for achieving the best payment accuracy rate in the nation for the past two years.