MELBOURNE, Fla. – April 21, 2015 – 12 residents of Brevard County have returned from Tallahassee where they met with state legislators to advocate for a strong, community-based system of care for abused and neglected children. The trip was conducted in conjunction with Children’s Week, an annual recognition of important children’s issues in Florida that calls to attention to children’s health, safety, and development.

The team of travelers, which included a foster and adoptive family, a former foster youth who is now a Brevard C.A.R.E.S. Youth Liaison, a board member, and staff from Brevard Family Partnership, Brevard County’s lead agency for child welfare and Brevard C.A.R.E.S. its child abuse prevention and family preservation organization, attended the 3-day long event. The team met with key members of both the House and Senate, as well as with members of the Governor’s staff for policy and legislative affairs. Their message was that Brevard and Florida’s system of care for abused, neglected and abandoned children must be adequately funded in order to provide the necessary programs and services that keep children safe and families together.

Brevard Family Partnership is hoping that changes in legislation will enable Brevard C.A.R.E.S. to keep families with youth who are at risk of entering the juvenile justice system and the child welfare system safe and together in the community while serving them in the least restrictive setting as possible.

“We are hoping that the legislature will allocate more funding for prevention and diversion programs, which will allow the agency to maintain the high quality system of care for which it has become known,” states Jim Carlson, Senior Executive of Administration.

While in Tallahassee, the team met with Representatives Ritch Workman, John Tobia, and Tom Goodson, Speaker Pro Tempore Matt Hudson, and Aides to Speaker Crisafulli and Senate President Gardiner. The team also met with the Governor’s Budget staff, discussing and emphasizing the importance of keeping Brevard children safe and healthy, and families together and strong.