DCF Press Release

State of Florida
Department of Children and Families
Charlie Crist

George H. Sheldon
Interim Secretary

August 27, 2008
Media Contact: Sarrah Troncoso
Department of Environmental Protection
Amy Graham (850) 245-2112

Children and Families Makes Waves by Going Green at Dependency Summit
~ Assistance from Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection will have Summit attendees “Thinking Green” ~

ORLANDO, FLA. – The Florida Department of Children and Families is “going green” at this year’s Children and Families annual statewide Dependency Summit with help from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Throughout the Summit, attendees will benefit from green tips and recommendations on how to make small changes that could make a big difference in the environment. The statewide Summit is being held Wednesday, August 27 through Friday, August 29.

“We appreciate the Department of Environmental Protection working with us to not only make our Summit green, but to also educate us on all the ways we can conserve and protect our environment in our daily lives,” said interim Secretary George Sheldon. “By hosting a green Summit we are raising awareness about Florida’s green initiative and doing our part to teach our child welfare professionals about preserving Florida’s future.”

Children and Families and the Department of Environmental Protection took the following steps to make this year’s Summit environmentally responsible:
  • Green tips are printed throughout the conference brochure to educate attendees on ways they can “go green” in their daily activities.
  • Attendees at this year’s Summit will receive a green “tote bag” made of recycled plastic to carry their Summit materials. The bags also come with instructions on how to be green friendly. According to the Container Recycling Institute, in the last 10 years, the amount of polyethylene terephthalate plastic bottles being recycled increased from about 775 million pounds in 1995 to about 1,170 million in 2005.
  • To conserve paper, workshop materials will be given to attendees on compact disks and workshop evaluations will be taken online. Each year enough paper is thrown away to make a 12 foot wall from New York to California- Recycling each ton of paper saves 17 trees and 7,000 gallons of water.
  • Instead of providing water bottles to attendees, the Summit will provide pitchers of water and glasses to eliminate wasteful plastic bottles. Plastic water bottles produced for U.S. consumption take 1.5 million barrels of oil per year and nearly 90 percent of water bottles are not recycled. That much energy could power 250,000 homes or fuel 100,000 cars for a year according to a 2007 resolution passed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
  • Summit staff and many attendees have been encouraged to carpool to and from the event to conserve gas and to save state and natural resources.
  • The Summit is being held at the Marriott Grand Lakes, a designated Green Lodging hotel. Upon checking in, guests will also receive tips on how the be a “green” guest.
Launched in March 2004, DEP’s Florida Green Lodging Program establishes environmental guidelines for hotels and motels to conserve natural resources and prevent pollution. In 2007, Governor Crist signed three executive orders initiating state energy-use policies, including one that requires state agencies and departments to hold meetings and conferences only at hotels with the Florida Green Lodging Program designation as of January 1, 2008. To date, the Florida Green Lodging Program has 267 designated properties and more than 400 applicants.

“We are pleased to assist the Florida Department of Children and Families in hosting a ‘green’ summit and promoting environmental stewardship amongst summit attendees,” said DEP Secretary Michael W. Sole. “DEP’s Sustainable Initiative Programs provide free, technical assistance to businesses, hotels, marinas and even our sister agencies who wish to adopt eco-friendly practices.”

Florida’s Dependency Summit is designed for child welfare professionals throughout the state to share best practices and continue the advancement of child welfare practice in Florida. At the Summit child protective investigators, community-based care administrators and case managers, as well as judges, general magistrates, children’s legal services attorneys, law enforcement, medical and mental health providers and child advocates join together to increase coordination, communication and creativity among their fields.

DEP’s Office of Sustainable Initiatives is comprised of three voluntary, non-regulatory programs that assist Florida industries and citizens in protecting the environment. The Clean Marina Program, the Florida Green Lodging Program and the Florida Pollution Prevention Program offer a variety of services including on-site assessments, consultations, speakers and workshops, all at no cost to citizens or organizations. The goal of the Sustainable Initiatives programs is to meet the needs of the present population without compromising resources for future generations.

To learn more about DEP’s Sustainable Initiatives, visit www.dep.state.fl.us/green/. For more information about the Department of Children and Families’ Dependency Summit, visit http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/admin/dependency/2008/.


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