Facing the Challenge of Child Abuse Florida is taking new action to prevent child abuse and neglect. The Florida Interprogram Task Force is bringing resources together to cut Florida’s child abuse rate in half. The Task Force’s highest priority is ensuring that all Florida’s children are raised in healthy, safe, stable, and nurturing family environments. Achieving this goal will require the following actions: o Addressing family and community circumstances that lead to child abuse and neglect, thereby reducing the chances of abuse in the first place. o Building strong collaborations among state and local organizations to cultivate growth of strong families and communities. o Creating an effective accountability system to measure success and identify and address deficiencies in support systems. The implementation of Florida’s State Plan for the Prevention of Child Abuse, Abandonment, and Neglect: July 2005 through June 2010 will be the first step in improving the well-being of our children, families, and communities. Who is represented on the Florida Interprogram Task Force? The Florida Interprogram Task Force is an interdisciplinary group of government and community leaders committed to children and families. The Task Force includes members representing the following organizations: Agency for Persons with Disabilities Agency for Workforce Innovation Community Alliances Community Based Care Department of Children and Families Department of Community Affairs Department of Education Department of Elder Affairs Department of Health Department of Juvenile Justice Department of Law Enforcement Florida Housing Finance Corporation Healthy Families Florida Parents Prevent Child Abuse Florida Redlands Christian Migrant Association How does Florida’s plan address the circumstances leading to child abuse and neglect? Sixty one statewide objectives and countless local objectives create the framework that provides for the care, safety, and protection of all of Florida’s children. The purpose is to create an environment that fosters healthy social, emotional, intellectual, and physical development. Separate subcommittees in each of the following fields have developed action plans related to: o o o o Maternal and child health Community safety Education and child care Substance abuse prevention and mental health o Housing and economic stability o Statewide and local collaboration o Prevention program funding and accountability These varied fields come together to form the basis for all prevention activities in the statewide plan. How are collaborations being built? The Florida Interprogram Task Force brings together people from law enforcement, education, health, family safety, mental health, substance abuse, statewide programs addressing child maltreatment, homelessness, housing, income security, juvenile justice, local organizations, disability services, refugee and migrant services, and parents, all committed to the protection of Florida’s children. Local child maltreatment prevention planning teams are equally diverse in their membership. These local groups ensure that the unique needs of Florida’s communities are being address by local prevention plans. This year, the Task Force is creating an infrastructure that will ensure the statewide plan addresses local needs of Floridians and that local strategies address statewide objectives. These strategies include: o The Chiles Center of the University of South Florida and the Task Force are providing technical assistance to local planning teams. o Bi-monthly telephone conferences involving local planning team members and Task Force members are being held to address statewide and local strategies and common challenges faced by local planning teams. o A meeting in central Florida of Task Force and local planning team members is scheduled to highlight best practices in the implementation of local plans. In addition, a statewide marketing campaign will help highlight the child abuse and neglect prevention efforts encouraging broad awareness, involvement, and collaboration in the statewide and local efforts. How is accountability ensured? Annually, the Task Force is ensuring accountability by: o Measuring progress towards plan objectives and monitoring changes in child abuse and re-abuse rates; o Evaluating progress toward prevention strategies and their outcomes designated to accomplish statewide and local objectives related to prevention strategies and their outcomes. o Examining existing programs that contribute to child abuse prevention and their funding level to identify programs needing more resources. This will enable the Task Force to provide accurate information to the Legislature so they can provide targeted resources. You can learn more about Florida’s plan to prevent child abuse at http://www.teamfla.org/taskforce.html. If you would like to get involved in implementation of Florida’s State Plan for the Prevention of Child Abuse, Abandonment, and Neglect: July 2005 through June 2010, on a statewide or local level, contact Julie Helter at the Lawton and Rhea Chiles Center of the University of South Florida (850-488-4768 or email@example.com).
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