A Conversation with Denise McArthur, Program Assistant

FFCR is pleased to announce that staff member Denise McArthur, previously part-time File Room Assistant, has been promoted to the position of full-time Program Assistant. Denise, an accomplished poet and spoken-word artist, spent time in foster care as a teenager. We sat down with Denise to learn more about her background and what inspires her.

Congrats on your promotion! FFCR is lucky to have you full-time. Tell us more about your new responsibilities.

I'm going to be assisting with volunteer coordination, including working with [Program Manager] Vanessa to coordinate trainings, including pre-service trainings. I'll also be keeping track of volunteer hours and review dates for the  Citizen Review Panel, plus assisting with scheduling, making sure documents are available, and more. I'm also going to be helping [Permanency Roundtable Program Manager] Kendra with the Permanency Roundtable Program.

FFCR's Permanency Roundtable (PRT) program is piloting Youth-Centered Roundtables (YCRTs) to include teens in the decisions made about their future. What do you think about the program?

The PRT Program is a good way to help out the case manager and get other people involved. It's very problem-solving. I like the fact that at the roundtables, instead of throwing blame, everyone is focused on finding solutions and getting permanency for the child. I think that's how the program achieves success quicker - by focusing on the end goal and how to get there.

Can you tell our readers about your experience in foster care?

Although my time in foster care was not long - five or six months - I didn't get to experience all the resources you see with cases heard before the CRP. I didn't feel like anyone was listening or like I was getting enough guidance on how to do stuff or what was possible. At one point, there was a court hearing, I think about my placement. On the day of the hearing, my foster mom said she could be there but in the end she couldn't. Even though I wasn't sure it was allowed, I decided to go on my own. I was 17 years old, and I wanted to speak up for myself. READ MORE...
Proposed law aims to help victims of human trafficking

As of January 1, 2016, all emergency rooms in Florida are required to display a poster with the National Human Trafficking Hotline and text number. This is a step in the right direction, but doctors and medical practitioners need to know how to identify victims of human trafficking to make that call.

House Bill 469 by Rep. Dave Kerner (D-Palm Springs) and its companion, Senate Bill 818 by Sen. Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater), address this problem. If passed, HB 469 would train physicians to identify signs of human trafficking. Under the committee substitute version of SB 818, passed unanimously by the Senate Health Policy Committee this past Tuesday, this life-saving instruction would be added to the existing continuing education domestic violence course already required periodically as part of re-licensure or recertification for Florida physicians, nurses, midwives, dentists, psychotherapists and psychoanalysts. Given that most human trafficking victims seek medical care at some point, this training requirement could have a big impact.

Florida ranks third in the U.S. for cases of reported human trafficking, and the country is looking to see how we address the issue. Last year we worked together to pass HB 369, requiring the Human Trafficking Hotline number to be posted in key public places around Florida. Follow FFCR on social media for timely calls to action. Thank you!

In Memory of Robert (Bob) Hudson

It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of Robert (Bob) Hudson, Jr., husband of long-time FFCR volunteer, Edith Hudson. As detailed in his December 30, 2015 obituary in The Miami Herald, Bob was an attorney and philanthropist who gave back to the community in countless ways. He helped the homeless as a board member for Camillus House and and was a committed supporter of the arts. The community is invited to make a donation to Camillus House in Bob's name. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to Edith and her family during this difficult time.
Andrea's Story: Getting the healthcare she needs
Andrea* had recently enrolled in Extended Foster Care for 18- to 21-year-olds when her case came before the Citizen Review Panel (CRP). A thorough review of the case file revealed that Andrea was not doing well in school. During the CRP hearing, Andrea appeared listless and unfocused. When questioned about her present activities and future goals, she said she just didn't have enough energy - not even to take care of herself. Alarmed, a CRP volunteer asked Andrea about the results of her last physician's visit. The panel members learned that Andrea had been diagnosed with a medical condition over a year ago and had not been receiving treatment due to a lack of insurance. Suddenly it was clear why Andrea lacked energy and was unable to apply herself at school. Andrea had not discussed this issue with her new independent living case manager, who was unaware until the CRP that Andrea suffered from this medical condition and had been feeling so badly.

The panel recommended that the case manager assist Andrea with obtaining medical coverage and medication to treat her condition, and the case manager agreed. Thanks to the panel's insight and thoughtful inquiry, Andrea now has the health care coverage and access to treatment she requires, and her health issue is being properly managed. She is now feeling well and is able to focus on her studies and her future. The CRP will continue to monitor Andrea's well-being every five months and will work to ensure that she is supported as she transitions to adulthood and eventual independence at age 21.
*Name and likeness have been changed to protect privacy.
In the News

In the Community

First Annual Stop Human Trafficking Walk
THIS Friday, January 29, 2016, 10:00 am, Florida National University, Hialeah Campus

THIS Friday, January 29, 2016, 12 to 4 pm, Albizu University, Miami

NexGen Band Concert in the Park - Fostering Success One Teen at a Time
THIS Saturday, January 30, 2016, 12 pm to 3 pm, Bayfront Park, Free and Open to the Public! Look for the FFCR table!

Florida's Children First Wishes Happy 10th Birthday to Florida Youth Shine -
and FFCR sends its congratulations! 

About Florida Foster Care Review 
Established in 1989 by a United Way committee, Florida Foster Care Review promotes the safety, well-being and long-term success of abused and neglected children in our community. Through special recruitment and training, volunteers review cases of youth in foster care to ensure they are safe and receiving needed services, intensively promoting positive outcomes. Together with child welfare professionals, Florida Foster Care Review also works to ensure that children and youth leaving the foster care system have someone they can call family. Through all its programs, Florida Foster Care Review tracks and analyzes outcomes in order to advocate for system changes that improve children's lives.