2018: A Year of Firsts

As 2018 comes to a close, many “firsts” come to mind. Our first annual Volunteer Summit in May and first Advanced Training Institute in September enhanced the knowledge of our 77 incredible volunteers and provided an opportunity to celebrate their unwavering commitment to children in our foster care system. In November, we hosted our 13th and most successful Claws for Kids fundraising luncheon ever, raising critical funds to expand our services. Throughout 2018, thanks to continued support from The Batchelor Foundation, Peacock Foundation, Inc., and the Roblee Foundation, and new support from the Paul Palank Memorial Foundation and the Dunspaugh-Dalton Foundation, coupled with a more significant funding partnership with Our Kids of Miami-Dade/Monroe, Inc. and Educate Tomorrow, we significantly increased the capacity of our Permanency Roundtable Program. Although we said farewell to some awesome team members, we also welcomed a number of incredible new professionals to our group. And, our very own Melissa Taylor started the Tabata Warriors – a group of dedicated individuals from a cross-section of child welfare agencies who gather two times a day to exercise for 15 minutes.

Sadly, there were some things we wish had never happened. Most notably, 2018 marks the loss of one of the great hearts and minds of the child welfare community – George Sheldon – only a year after he had started to turn the ship around at Our Kids. George inspired hopefulness to many of us working in Miami’s child welfare system, and FFCR is committed to pursuing our work inspired by George’s sense of optimism and abundance.

Last, but certainly not least, on December 31, 2018, the Honorable Cindy S. Lederman will be hanging up her robe and putting down her gavel for the final time after 30 years of service. An internationally recognized expert, a passionate advocate, and an unwavering supporter of FFCR’s work, Judge Lederman’s work has impacted thousands of lives. We will miss her fearless leadership and will be forever grateful for the path she carved. And, we will strive to live up to the high bar she set for all of us working in the child welfare system.

The entire team at Florida Foster Care Review wishes all of our volunteers, colleagues, partners, and friends joy and peace throughout the holiday season and only the best in 2019!