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corner of content windowHurricane News
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 22, 2004
CONTACT: Tim Botcher (850) 488-4855

Child Welfare Operations in Western Panhandle Continue Despite Ivan Damage

TALLAHASSEE – With help from their neighbors to the east, child welfare workers in the Western Panhandle expect no decline in services despite damage to the region caused by Hurricane Ivan.

“The full array of our resources across the state stands ready to assist areas impacted by Ivan and other storms,” Department of Children & Families Interim Secretary Lucy D. Hadi said. “Despite the harm inflicted on our communities we remain firm in our commitment to child protection.”

“We cannot allow the damage inflicted by Ivan to interfere with our mission of ensuring the safety and well-being of children in state care,” Panhandle District 1 Administrator Walt Cook said. “We are grateful to our friends across the Panhandle for their help in this endeavor. Indeed all the other 13 DCF administrative districts have called to offer help with our child welfare operations.

“We also owe a special debt of gratitude to Governor Bush for making a vast array of state resources available to our region,” Cook added. “The state support has been immediate and effective, thanks to the Governor’s leadership.”

Child welfare workers in District 2, comprised of 14 counties in the Eastern Panhandle and the Big Bend region, today traveled west to assist their counterparts in Okaloosa and Walton Counties. FamiliesFirst Network, which contracts with DCF to provide child welfare casework services in District 1 (Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton Counties), requested assistance as it concentrates on children in badly damaged Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties.

Four teams, comprised of staff from DCF District 2 and Partnership for Families, Inc., will perform child welfare casework services for FamiliesFirst Network in Okaloosa and Walton Counties. Partnership for Families contracts with DCF for casework services in one half of District 2. The teams will visit children to ensure their safety and well-being.

Additionally, workers from Big Bend Community-Based Care, Inc., another private firm providing casework services in the other half of District 2, will check on District 1 children who have been placed in special residential facilities in District 2.

Finally, DCF District 2 staff from their home offices will support FamiliesFirst by performing a number of services, including data entry and background screenings for relatives identified as potential caretakers for abused or neglected children who have been removed from their homes.

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Last updated: July 08, 2005

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