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December E-News: Message from the CEO

Dear Friends,

As we approach the 2016 year end, I would like to thank you, our partners, for your investment in the local child welfare System of Care and the key role you have played to serve, support and strengthen the children and families entrusted to our care.

For 11 years, BFP along with its many community partners, have led the way in reducing the incidences of child abuse and neglect in Brevard, while strengthening families so that parents and their children can remain safely together, in their homes and community; and children in need of a permanent home and family, find safety, stability, love and a place in which to belong with their adoptive families.

As a community, our focus is and has always been, ensuring the delivery of a high quality innovative, evidence-based child welfare continuum of care in an environment of partnership and collaboration. This year has presented its opportunities, challenges and successes which together, we as a community of practice, have approached with a spirit of determination.

Over the past 3 years, Brevard, along with the state of Florida, has experienced a substantial increase in the number of children being removed from their families and placed into out of home care. While this shift in practice presented its challenges, together we as a community remained focused on our mission and vision of the safety of children first and foremost.

As we look back over the past year there are many accomplishments to celebrate. Some highlights include:

  • The commitment to serve every child and family with excellence.
  • Increased retention of caseworkers translating into stability for the children and families we serve
  • The recruitment of 50 new foster homes that enable us to:
    • Provide safe, quality foster homes for thousands of children and teens who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect or abandonment.
  • Exceeded our adoption goal by providing “forever homes and families” for 81 children who have been permanently removed from their home and reside in foster, relative, or nonrelative care.
  • Research on the C.A.R.E.S. program was published in the Journal of Families and Society-Contemporary Social Services in April of 2015 and C.A.R.E.S. became an Evidence-Based Practice Program model listed in the California Evidence Based Clearinghouse in October 2016.
  • Obtained a successful one-time request for 2.7 million dollars in funding to address the needs associated with the increase in the number of children entering out of home care.
  • Raised over $60,000 for the Brevard Child Welfare Endowment.
  • Enhanced the local System of Care with robust new programs and partnerships to include: Justice Works, Res Wrap, additional Safety Management Services Teams, the formation of Specialized Therapeutic Foster Care in partnership with the Family Counseling Center, the inclusion of former foster care youth to assist with teen recruitment efforts, and implementation of the New Generation Pride Curriculum endorsed by CWLA titled “The Foster Parent College”, an online learning platform for foster parents.
  • Far outperform the state in the number of children and their families served through front end family support services in keeping with our communities charge to establish an aggressive front end prevention and diversion program.
  • Worked to reduce the number of children in the formal child welfare system of care, from a high of over 1,500 children in 2005, to 1,000 in 2016.

To chart the course for the next 5 years and to establish the local priorities for the SOC, BFP will soon be launching its new 5-year strategic planning process and will rely on you, our community members, to establish the priorities for the local System of Care moving forward. We look forward to the opportunity to hear from you.

I would like to close by thanking our community partners, dependency care managers, providers, volunteers, and foster and adoptive parents for all they do each and every day to care for our children; and to our stellar Board of Directors and staff for their dedication and commitment to the children and families entrusted to our care.

Thank you for investing in Brevard’s most vulnerable children. Your service, stewardship and sacrifice have made a meaningful and lasting difference in the lives of many children and families!

With gratitude for your partnership,

Patricia Nellius