DCF Press Release

State of Florida
Department of Children and Families
Charlie Crist

Robert A. Butterworth

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Contact: Sarrah Troncoso
June 11, 2008 (850) 488-4855

Florida Selected to Attend National Governors Association Policy Academy
~ Will focus on reducing the number of children in foster care without compromising safety ~

ORLANDO, FLA. - Department of Children and Families Secretary Bob Butterworth welcomed officials from the National Governors Association today at the first meeting of the Policy Academy aimed at safely reducing the number of children in foster care. States will complete the Policy Academy later this year, developing action plans for increasing in-home services to children and families and improving outcomes for those children who come into Florida’s child welfare system.

“In concert with the Department of Children and Families, the Governor’s Office of Adoption and Child Protection, the Children and Youth Cabinet and many stakeholders across Florida, we are committed to improving services and outcomes for at-risk children and their families,” said Governor Charlie Crist. “The members of these groups represent Florida’s most action orientated advocates and leaders. Participation in the NGA Policy Academy will greatly enhance efforts already underway.”

Throughout the last two decades, Florida and other states have seen an increase in the number of children coming into state custody. However, Florida is improving outcomes for these vulnerable children through initiatives such as family counseling, parenting classes and mental health treatment. Florida is the only state with a child welfare waiver, which permits federal foster care funds to be used for prevention and in-home services. Since January 2007, Florida has seen an 18 percent reduction in the number of children in foster care.

“The reduction of Florida’s foster care population without compromise to child safety is a key Department initiative,” said Secretary Butterworth. “We’re proud to be part of this initiative of the National Governors Association. Safely reducing the numbers of children in Florida’s foster care system will require diligence and a significant investment of time and effort. I am pleased that our long-term and recent initiatives have been successful.”

Other states selected for the Policy Academy are Arkansas, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. Florida and other states will convene in Seattle, Washington, this August for the first multi-state best practice policy discussion. Funding is provided by Casey Family Programs and the National Governors Association. To learn more about the Department of Children and Families, visit, http://www.state.fl.us/cf_web/.


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