Florida Department of Children and Families Seeks System Changes
Saluting HKI as we approach the Final Days of Transition
It seems like just yesterday we started down a journey that would lead to one of the largest child welfare transitions in the history of the State of Florida. As we reflect on the beginning of this journey, the visual that stands out the most in my mind is that of senior leaders sitting around a long oval table strategically planning a seamless transition for our constituents, providers, stakeholders, and community at large. Heading up those conversations were leaders from DCF, Eckerd, and HKI. Collectively, we set out to accomplish an insurmountable task, and together, we are very close to celebrating the accomplishment of our mission!
With the final days quickly approaching, we continue to press forward eliminating any barriers that stand in the way of success. Senior leaders are often conversing into the early morning hours making sure everything has been considered and no stone left unturned. Conquering great demands and maintaining a fast and steady pace, has often proven relentless for the staff working behind the scenes. What fuels them? Pure passion‐ a desire to make sure no child falls through the cracks.
Today, as we approach the final days of this transition, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge HKI for their efforts. Led by CEO, Karen Maziarz, the HKI leadership team displayed nothing less than the commitment and dedication needed to pull this off.
A Salute HKI: Eckerd and our community would like to salute you for an outstanding job during this transition, and for the legacy that you will leave behind. Eckerd is honored to accept the hand off and will do our very best to continue to improve outcomes for children and families in our community.
Our Last Community Forum Leading Up to Transition
Last night, Eckerd held our final community forum scheduled prior to the transition. Despite extremely bad weather, the community of Sulfur Springs chose to come out and participate in a very in‐depth discussion surrounding needed changes within the system of care. With approximately 50 people in attendance, some of the most notable comments included: more accessibility to case workers on the weekends; greater financial support for relative caregivers, and more accountability for the network of providers. The comments were unwavering and the voices of those in attendance continued to echo in our ears as we went about our day.
Eckerd’s commitment is to address every issue that has been raised during all of the community forums. As mentioned previously, moving forward we will host additional community forums on a quarterly basis and will keep everyone informed on the changes being made to the system as a result of the invaluable feedback we have received.
The Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County
The Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County in partnership with Eckerd, Lazy days Employee Foundation and other community organizations is hosting a Homeless Youth Community Forum on Wednesday, June 13th in Jaeb Theater at The Straz Center in Tampa. The event, free and open to the public, begins with a networking breakfast at 8:30 am with the forum running from 9:30 to 11:00 am. Reservations are encouraged; RSVP to Jeremiah Kerr at (813) 223‐6115.
Educational Needs for Children Involved in the Child Welfare
Several weeks ago, we shared Eckerd’s commitment to improving educational outcomes for children involved in the child welfare system and we wanted to remind you of a very important meeting that has been scheduled for the community at large on Wednesday, June 20th from 2pm to 4pm. During this meeting, Eckerd will be discussing our plans to change conversations around education so that we can improve outcomes for children involved in the child welfare system. This meeting will be held at the Family Place located at 9391 N. Florida Avenue, Tampa 33612 and everyone is invited: providers, stakeholders, and community citizens.
Listed below are nine domains that will be discussed during this meeting, as well as, captured on an Education Scorecard that will be rolled out by case management agencies in Hillsborough County mid July.
1. School Stability (including timeliness of enrollment)
2. Attendance (absences and tardiness)
3. Performance (assessing improved education gains)
4. Student Involvement (extra‐curricular activities)
5. Parent Involvement
6. ESE (Does Student have Exceptional Student Education Needs?)
7. Graduation Progress (is the student on schedule to graduate)
8. Behavior (age appropriate school behavior/ participation)
9. Mentor (student has a connection to the community)
We are looking forward to seeing you at our June 20th meeting.
Eckerd will assume full oversight of the child welfare system on July 1st, 2012. Listed below is important information for you to know:
Location and Hours of Operation: On July 1st, Eckerd will assume the lease space currently occupied by HKI at
9301 N. Florida Avenue, Tampa Florida, 33612. Our offices will be open Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm and our phone number will be (813) 471‐0747.
make a note of the change in how to contact lead agency and case management staff via email. Staff phone and cell numbers will remain the same.
Other Information You Should Know: As we continue to move forward in the transition of authority from HKI to Eckerd, you may continue to receive updates about changes to contact information, various forms, and other information that may relate to your business with us. These notifications will be sent by email, through our weekly communiqué, and will be available on our website at: http://www.eckerd.org/hillsborough.
Case Management: Eckerd is committed to making the transition process as seamless as possible for the children and families receiving services. In an effort to achieve this goal, we have made a decision to maintain
the current case management structure that exists today in Hillsborough County. What this means for families:
(after July 1st) at (813) 471‐0747.
Eckerd is looking forward to the opportunity to work with all of our families in the near future.
How to Contact Me
Please feel free to contact me directly with questions, feedback or thoughts. I can be reached at (727) 631‐6241
Department of Children and Families Drops Hillsborough Kids Inc