Press Release

State of Florida
Department of Children and Families
Rick Scott

David E. Wilkins

April 5, 2011
MEDIA CONTACT: DCF Communications
(850) 488-4855

Secretary Wilkins Participates in Children’s Week Activities
~ A time dedicated to raising the importance of children’s issues~

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. – Emphasizing the critical importance of helping Florida’s children, Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) Secretary David Wilkins is celebrating Children’s Week at the Florida Capitol by meeting with key advocates and participating in several events around the city.

Secretary Wilkins

Secretary Wilkins at dedication ceremony.

“Children’s Week is a great time to promote children’s issues and encourage individuals, businesses and community groups to get involved in the future of our children,” Wilkins said. “We must make it a priority to educate ourselves about preventing child abuse and spreading hope to fractured families.”

Secretary Wilkins kicked off Children’s Week Monday by speaking at the Florida Baptist Children’s Home event where author and child advocate Debra Polston released her new book Victor’s Dream with plans to provide copies to every child in Florida’s foster care system.

This morning Secretary Wilkins and his wife Tanya attended a pancake breakfast sponsored by the Florida Coalition for Children. After breakfast he participated in a news conference celebrating “Children’s Capitol for a Day” and the “Hanging of the Hands” artwork display dedicated to the 2011 Florida Legislature.

He later participated in a “Teens Only” town hall meeting as a panelist, where Florida’s youth fired tough questions about funding issues to critical programs within the Department. Secretary Wilkins’ next stop was the Florida State Foster Adoptive Parent Association quarterly meeting where he discussed DCF’s efforts to fully involve foster parents by sharing information and decision-making about children with everyone involved.

Secretary Wilkins and Ani Garrigo stop for a quick photo at the conclusion of the “Teens Only” town hall meeting.

Secretary Wilkins and Ani Garrigo stop for a quick photo at the conclusion of the “Teens Only” town hall meeting.

Secretary Wilkins and Mrs. Wilkins plan to end the day by attending dinner young adults who have been in the foster care system.

During the last few days Secretary Wilkins has met some of Florida’s brightest youth dedicated to reaching the goals set for Children’s Week. Ani Garrigo, a sophomore at John Paul II high school in Tallahassee and a member of the statewide Youth Commission, impressed the Secretary with her drive and ambition to be a part of this week’s activities and year round.

“Children's Week is so important because it lets the youth of Florida give valuable insight to the leaders and decision makers of our state,” Garrigo said. “I am proud to be part of the Youth Commission and be a representative for the kids across Florida who don't have a voice in the decisions being made for them.”