Here we are in the middle of summer – a time when children and families are spending time together, going on vacation, attending summer camp, and making preparations for the new school year. Before we know it fall will be upon us, children will return to school, and families will be making plans for upcoming holiday festivities. While things are winding down and children are at home and enjoying the summer activities, it is important to be mindful of summer safety. You will find important tips to consider outlined in this newsletter.
I would like to take this opportunity to provide an update on a few major changes in our System of Care. First, on June 22, 2015 BFP fully assumed the role of foster parent recruitment, licensing, relicensing and management. This is an exciting time at BFP as we have worked diligently over the past 60 days to design a practice model that ensures necessary supports are in place for our foster parent partners. While change takes time and we are working diligently to make improvements, I would like to affirm that our foster parents are valued and critical partners charged with the 24/7 care of our children. It is our expectation that at all times foster parent voice will be heard, included and valued.
To that end we have recruited a team of specialists who will provide high quality services and support to our foster families. This includes a Foster Parent Recruiter who will work diligently in the Communications division to increase foster home capacity; a Foster Parent Navigator who will be accessible to assist our foster families in time of need to assist with accessing needed services, addressing barriers, and ensuring their voice is included at all levels; Assessment staff who will administer the Child and Adolescent Functional Assessment to place children in the correct level of care upon entry and monitor their progress throughout their stay in care; a Certified Behavior Analyst who will assist foster families and relative caregivers in addressing and managing trauma related behavior effectively; and a cadre of licensing and relicensing staff and leadership to ensure we are able to recruit, train, license and retain quality foster families. Our goal is to recruit 50 new foster homes by June 30, 2016. To that end, I am excited to report that we have 18 families scheduled to attend the Pride Training Class on July 7. We have also instituted a coordinated respite program and a referral incentive program for current foster parents who refer interested prospects to become licensed. For more information on this program please contact Tracey Kinsley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On July 1, 2015, the Mobile Response Team transitioned to Brevard C.A.R.E.S. This service is also available 24/7-365 days a year to assist foster parents and the community at large in need of crisis support.
As I conclude my letter I would like to thank a number of agencies and individuals for assisting BFP throughout this time-sensitive transition. Your partnership and support is greatly appreciated. First, I would like to thank our foster parents and foster parent association for your patience, support, partnership, and most importantly for the care and protection, love and support you provide our children each and every day. By opening your heart and home for children to heal you are making a meaningful difference in many lives. We look forward to working alongside you to nurture and heal the children entrusted to our care. Secondly, I would like to thank our partners at the Department of Children and Families who walked side by side with BFP through this process; and for going above and beyond to ensure a seamless transition occurs. Thank you for deploying a dedicated team to assist with the licensing process and program design. Thirdly, thanks to Devereux Florida for their partnership in transitioning the services to BFP and for the deployment of statewide staff to ensure continuity of care. And last but not least, a special word of appreciation to the BFP team for their dedication and commitment to our mission and vision of “Protecting Children, Strengthening Families and Changing Lives”. This transition and these partnerships exemplify the power of community when committed to a vision.