Recently, the Florida Department of Children and Families announced that it had set a goal of reducing the number of children in the foster care system by fifty percent by 2012. According to the department’s own annual report, the Northeast Florida region is close to meeting this goal two years ahead of schedule. The success of the Jacksonville, Florida area Department of Children and Families has helped boost the entire state of Florida into first position in the nation for completing adoptions of children in the foster care system.
The Northeast Florida area has also led the state in its receipt of Prudential Davis Productivity Awards, which recognize innovation in serving the public. Much of the success can be credited to a successful partnership with Family Support Services (FSS) of North Florida, an organization that provides child-protection services in Duval and Nassau counties. The FSS currently has no children under the age of eight available for adoption.
According to Jim Adams, the Chief Executive Officer of FSS, 99.9% of children in foster care were visited by their assigned caseworker every thirty days. The increase in adoption rates has also reduced caseloads for caseworkers from thirty-five to eighteen children each.