Florida Foster Care Review is seeking to apply its expertise in facilitating volunteer-driven case reviews in new and more effective ways. Part of that includes infusing our long-running core program, the Citizen Review Panel (CRP), with best practices and new approaches. This year, we’ll be producing more comprehensive reports on each child whose case is reviewed, thereby providing judges and child welfare professionals with improved tools to aid their decision-making. We’ll also continue to address emerging areas of concern, such as connecting youth with the information they need to make good decisions about their reproductive health. The CRP will also be expanded to include the 18 to 21 year-olds who opt for extended foster care under Florida’s new law. In what marks the biggest and hopefully highest impact expansion of FFCR’s work, we’re applying our facilitation experience to a new program designed to target one of the primary barriers to successful life outcomes for abused and neglected children and youth—the lack of a permanent home and adult connections. Through the Permanency Roundtable Program, FFCR will partner with Our Kids of Miami-Dade/Monroe, Inc. and other child welfare stakeholders to take an intensive, team-oriented approach to achieving permanency even under some of the most difficult circumstances.
Florida Foster Care Review advocates for policy and practice changes that make a real difference in children’s lives. Based on 25 years of experience and hard data accumulated through countless hearings, FFCR provides insights into the complex challenges facing children and youth in foster care and recommends changes to improve the child welfare system. But FFCR won’t stop at evaluating the data and presenting findings. We’ll go on to recommend changes in policy and practice, to share those recommendations with policymakers and the child welfare community, and to join forces with stakeholders, supporters and community partners in advocating for reforms that will make a real difference in the lives of children.
Florida Foster Care Review develops and implements innovative approaches to addressing the greatest needs of the children we serve. One thing FFCR won’t be doing is identifying problems without proposing solutions. We’ll be right there with you, our partners, taking the lead in developing and implementing new approaches, particularly with regard to children and youth with special needs. Right now, we’re working with the Alliance for GLBTQ Youth and the Community Based Care Alliance in order to better understand the challenges facing GLBTQ foster youth and improve their experiences. As part of the Miami Foundation’s Safe Passage Program, we’re working to ensure that disabled youth are linked with plenary guardians who can make critical financial, health and daily care decisions after the youth turn 18. Other issues addressed include the developmental needs of young children in care, the lingering effects of trauma and the impact of placement changes on educational outcomes. We’ll build on this work to create an atmosphere of flexibility and fresh thinking that will enable us to address some of the toughest issues out there.
Florida Foster Care Review harnesses the power of people and technology to evaluate data at every level. In order to recommend individualized solutions, trained, staff-supported Citizen Review Panel (CRP) volunteers take the time to uncover the challenges facing each child whose case is reviewed. Meanwhile, staff use our upgraded, redesigned database to spot patterns that mark opportunities for systemic transformation. The comprehensive re-design of our database, completed earlier this year, enables both snapshots and detailed close-ups of the state of our child welfare system and the children it serves. Through evaluation and analysis of the data, FFCR will be able to provide judges and child welfare professionals with the critical information they need to identify barriers to permanency, safety, and well-being for children and youth in foster care.