On Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023, Family Support Services Pasco & Pinellas Counties welcomed board members, community leaders and staff to their annual report to the community at Red Mesa Cantina’s La Florida Ballroom in downtown St. Petersburg. The Evening of Inspiration served to highlight the many gains FSS has made over the past fiscal year and honored the agency’s first year of work in the Suncoast area.
Emceed by Octavius Davis, the agency’s Director of Community Engagement, Grants and Recruiting, the event included keynotes by current Josh Nixon, FSS’ Chairman of the Board of Directors, and a video message from Shevaun Harris, Secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families.
“There is so much to celebrate,” Harris said in her address. “When we decided that a change was needed in this circuit, I hoped for a great partner who would bring innovative ideas in the areas of prevention, supporting our youth towards permanency, reducing the number of children in group care, increasing kinship placements and stabilizing the workforce. FSS has delivered on all those hopes and so much more.”
Harris thanked FSS and its partners for “answering the call,” with special thanks to the Suncoast community at large for supporting children and families in the community-care model. “I see the renewed faith in the model and patience restored for better tomorrows,” she said.
Jenn Petion, President and CEO of Family Support Services, delivered a report on the state of the agency with a reflection on the organization’s history in the region, innovative programs and vision for the future. Among the highlights:
- In 2022, more children exited the foster care system than entered it for the first time since 2014, with a higher percentage due to reunification than the year before.
- In January, FSS’ in-house case management team had only 25% of needed positions filled. Now, system-wide teams have 85% of case manager positions filled.
- With 2022 legislative investments, FSS:
- Added critical positions to strengthen teams and developed new ones needed to support the system of care.
- Provided compensation adjustments to make salaries commensurate with fair market values. For case managers, this meant an increase in base salary of almost 40 percent.
Photographs from the evening can be found on social media at Facebook.com/fsssuncoast.
To review Family Support Services’ mission and view the 2022 Report to the Community, click here.
About Family Support Services (FSS) of Pasco and Pinellas Counties
Family Support Services is the lead agency for family preservation, foster care, and adoption services in Duval, Nassau, Pasco and Pinellas counties. Through community-based care, FSS provides services and programs to help prevent child abuse and neglect, to promote a healthy family environment and to care for our community’s children in foster care. For more information, go to www.familysupport.org.
For media inquiry, email Chanel.Martin@fssnf.org.