FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Alex Alamo
September 20, 2017
Miami, FL – When facing a possibly catastrophic storm last week, Florida’s child welfare agencies were not only prepared individually but ready to assist their colleagues across the state as the need arose.
Once Hurricane Irma’s path shifted away from the panhandle’s western most areas, the staff at FamiliesFirst Network of Lakeview (FFN), the child welfare agency serving the Pensacola community and surrounding areas, went from storm preparation to disaster relief mobilization and immediately reached out to Our Kids and our partners to offer assistance.
Within days of the storm’s passing, a team was deployed to South Florida to work together to ensure all children and families were accounted for and had the supplies they needed. The team members deployed by FFN have the training and unique ability to assist and respond to individuals who have experienced trauma.
“We know what it’s like to weather a storm,” said Jenn Petion, Director of Administration and Special Projects for FFN. “Many of our staff were around for Hurricane Ivan, which severely impacted our community. We understand recovering from these storms is a long, long process; often for agency staff just as much as the families served. Once the panhandle was out of Irma’s path, we mobilized a relief team to help our fellow Floridians.”
The safety and well-being of children is the top priority for all community-based care agencies. With the help of FFN, Our Kids has been able to reach out to all of its foster parents and children to assess needs and provide relief to those in need.
“Once the storm passed, Our Kids and its community partners got boots on the ground and began visiting homes to make sure all of our children were safe. Thanks to donations from our Foster and Adoptive Parent Associations and Target, we were also able to deliver diapers, formula, water and other needed supplies. Once the courts opened, we began rescheduling court dates that were affected by the storm,” said George Sheldon, President and CEO of Our Kids. “Thanks to the experience the FFN team brought with them, we were able to get needed assistance to quickly provide relief to our families.”
Our Kids is incredibly grateful for the help FFN is providing, as well as all the hard work of our valued community partners – all in the name of keeping our children safe.
About Our Kids of Miami-Dade/Monroe, Inc.:
Incorporated in 2002, Our Kids is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation created in response to the need for local leadership, oversight and coordination of the foster care system. As the non-profit lead agency for
community based care in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, Our Kids oversees and directs a coordinated system of care that provides crucial services to abused, abandoned, and neglected children in the community. Our Kids’ mission is to create safe havens for these children and their families through adoption, foster care and related services.
About FamiliesFirst Network of Lakeview:
FamiliesFirst Network of Lakeview (FFN) represents a partnership with the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to provide an array of foster care and related services in coordination with network partners. The network includes DCF, Lakeview Center, as the lead agency, judiciary sub-contracted service providers, foster parents, the District One Community Alliance, agency stakeholders, and the community working together to implement the legislative mandate for community based care. Services include case management for out-of-home and in-home placements; foster home recruitment, training, recommendation for licensure, and support; adoption support; independent living program; dependency court resource facilitation; sub-contract management; and other related services to abused and neglected children and their families.