DCF hosts roundtable to discuss funding
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Last week, we first told you about checks being distributed to thousands of Florida families.
Wednesday, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCF) hosted a roundtable at City Church Tallahassee to talk to foster and adoptive parents about the program.
The $36 million program, included in the state budget, uses funding from the federal government to provide these one-time payments.
The focus of the DCF roundtable was to help families in need and how this extra funding will help support foster and adopted children. In addition, foster parents are getting the chance to share their concerns with government leaders.
“It’s so important to have the ear of someone from the Governor’s Office, someone from the Department of Children and Families that’s willing to hear what our concerns are, what our fears are, and what we want to see changed and make those changes for the best interest of the kids in our care,” Foster Parent Lisa Pontoreiro said.
DCF Secretary Shevaun Harris said the feedback is extremely valuable.
“Some of the best feedback that we get are from foster parents and youth who are actually in our system and that helps us shape our policies and procedures moving forward,” Harris said.
Initiatives like the Pathway to Prosperity Program gives 59,000 Florida families in need $450 per child - a gift the parents said they don’t take for granted.
“And that money was great. Even though it was monetary, it meant so much to know that we had the concern of the Governor’s Office, that they recognized the importance of meeting the needs of these kids,” Pontoreiro said.
Secretary Harris believes the checks providing support for these families are well deserved.
“I think it’s important to support our foster parents because they are making a huge sacrifice in taking in kids in our system and I think it’s important to do what we can right,” shared Harris.
Bringing a sense of hope to families like Pontoreiro’s, trying to give their kids the best in life.
“When I leave here today I can’t wait to go back and talk to, especially the teen, the other kids are a little bit younger, but the teen because there’s hope and people care,” Pontoreiro said.
Overall, the parents said they’re grateful to have the support of the government and that they’re actively listening to their concerns.
DCF also plans to use funding to create services to help both fostered and adopted children and parents cope with mental health and trauma.
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