The Department of Children and Families, Circuit 7, announces a public forum to discuss child welfare in St. Johns County: What is working in the current system of care, identification of gaps in services, and critical areas needing improvement.
Please direct all questions to:
Phone: (904) 485-9702
5920 Arlington Expressway
Jacksonville, FL 32211
Pursuant to the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, any person requiring special accommodations to participate in these public meetings is asked to advise the agency at least 48 hours before the meetings by contacting Patricia Edgemon at (904) 485-9702. If you are hearing or speech impaired, please contact the agency using the Florida Relay Service, 1(800)955-8771 (TDD) or 1(800)955-8770 (Voice).
Circuit 7 Community Meeting Minutes
The meeting began with introductions by David Abramowitz, DCF's Northeast Region Managing Director. Additional Department staff present in St Augustine included: Patricia Edgemon, Contract Manager and Melissa Walker, Contract Management Supervisor.
Participants included Circuit Judge, community services providers, St Johns County Board Chair, County Commissioner, DJJ Representative, SEDNET Representative, Guardians ad Litem, foster parents, adoptive parent, personnel from Family Integrity Program, and community members at large.
Mr. Abramowitz provided a brief overview of the current system of care for foster care, adoption and related services in Circuit 7. He explained the purpose of the meeting, which was to obtain the community's feedback regarding their experience with service provision in Circuit 7. Participants were asked to provide comments and any needs they saw to address gaps in services.
Comments and concerns were shared by numerous participants and addressed by Mr. Abramowitz. General questions regarding child welfare system processes and Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) process were also asked and addressed by Mr. Abramowitz.
Areas of strength noted regarding the current provider/system of care: Strong community connections/collaborative relationships and willingness to work with agencies, providers, etc. to strengthen families; improvement in performance and overall enhanced services in last several years
Areas of concern noted regarding the current provider/system of care included: focus on continuing to improve communication and services for children involved in more than one system; need for services that effectively assess and address trauma; increase focus on achieving permanency timely; need to ensure foster parents are included in case activities and receive all necessary information
The meeting was adjourned at approximately 7:15, with Department staff remaining for additional comments and/or questions.