DCF "YEAR IN REVIEW" HIGHLIGHTS DRAMATIC IMPROVEMENTS
~ Agency engages communities, empowers front-line staff and helps families be independent ~
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. – Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary David Wilkins announces the release of the agency's annual report, a new publication providing Floridians with an update on the work and progress made at the Department.
In 2011, Sec. Wilkins and the nearly 13,000 employees of the Department made tremendous improvements in each of the main areas of service including child and adult protection, economic assistance, refugee services and substance abuse and mental health programs.
The agency's vision for the past year included empowering front-line staff by providing the tools they need to do the job right; improving programs while efficiently serving Floridians in need; enabling accountability by guiding families toward self-sufficiency; and engaging communities by seeking partnerships to strengthen local communities.
"Over the past year, I have had the privilege to work with dedicated, exceptional staff to successfully improve our processes in order to meet the critical needs of Floridians," said Secretary Wilkins. "Every day, we are improving the lives of children and families, providing food, shelter and medical care to those in need and keeping vulnerable adults safe. We made remarkable progress in 2011 and laid the groundwork for many more accomplishments in 2012. The dedication of our employees along with the incredible support of Gov. Rick Scott and each member of the Legislature has created tremendous momentum that will help all Floridians."
Below are some highlights from the report:
- Improved customer service for those who receive federal benefits and increased the capabilities for these clients to get quick, accurate information about their cases and make changes to their information online.
- Hired additional child protective investigators and provided additional training for investigators statewide.
- Increased coordination with local law enforcement and other partners on abuse cases.
- Established a board and worked with legislators to transform the way child protective investigations are completed in order to ensure child safety.
- Introduced a new "Scorecard" to better track the performance of our community-based care agencies that handle prevention, foster and adoptive services in order to share best practices and make improvements statewide.
- Established enhanced fraud detection efforts to make sure that only those who are in need and deserve federal benefits are receiving help through food assistance, cash assistance and Medicaid.
- Increased the focus on meeting the medical and dental needs of all foster children.
- Launched "Partners for Promise," a new initiative to link businesses in local communities with children, families and seniors who need extra help.
- Sent hundreds of foster children to summer camp through our "Camps for Champions" events that enlisted the help of superstar athletes, such as Myron Rolle, Dwight Howard, Corey Simon, Derrick Brooks, James Jones and Shannon Miller.
Plans for continued improvement this year include redesigning the Florida Abuse Hotline, continuing the child protective investigations transformation project, further reducing errors and fraud in federal benefit processing, increasing graduation rates for foster children, and bringing more awareness to the problems of human trafficking and prescription drug abuse in Florida.
The Annual Report is available online at: http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/admin/docs/Year_End_Report.pdf.