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Florida’s Center for Child Welfare Granted a 4 Year, $2.5 Million Continuation

Florida's Center for Child WelfareAfter a competitive application process with Florida’s Department of Children and Families, Don Policella and Florida’s Center for Child Welfare staff will continue their efforts to provide information, collaboration, and program support to Florida’s professional child welfare stakeholders.

Since its establishment in 2007, the Center has grown to serve more than 6400 registered users who access the site regularly. (In February 2014, the Center website had nearly 1.5 million hits.) Center services include a fully searchable on-line knowledge library categorized by program area, a comprehensive credentialed video training component for professionals, statewide and local live web events hosted and supported by staff, responding and posting of Frequently Asked Questions submitted by professionals, and a collaboration component that serves as an interactive on-line information-sharing portal where peers and experts can interact with each other and develop on-line learning communities. As part of the new contract, a site update will be deployed in April 2014 and will include new navigation and resources.

Children In Foster Care

Florida’s Center for Child Welfare is also working on a special project supported by Casey Family Programs to reduce the number of children in foster care and their lengths of stay. Casey Family Programs is the nation’s largest operating foundation focused entirely on foster care and improving the child welfare system.

Don Policella and Center staff will work with members in Hillsborough County (District 13) to develop a toolkit based on successful strategies developed by the judicially led team comprised of Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Katherine G. Essrig, Linda Jewell Morgan, Casey Family Programs, a judicial consultant, court administration, child protective investigations and child welfare services leaders and specialists among others. The toolkit will feature documentary and instructional videos, produced by The Center, designed to assist in replicating the process statewide and nationally.

“Collaboration between courts and child welfare agencies along with other community stakeholders has long been recognized as a requirement for the protection and well-being of children,” said retired Judge Patricia A. Macías, a judicial engagement consultant at Casey Family Programs. “Assisting courts in using data to inform what needs to be done to achieve the best outcomes for children will be a critical step in changing and improving practice.”

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