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A Call to Action Circuit 5 Dependency Court Improvement Project Quarterly Meeting Friday, January 21, 2011 Wildwood, Florida Darlene Bell-Alexander, Esq.

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Presentation on theme: "A Call to Action Circuit 5 Dependency Court Improvement Project Quarterly Meeting Friday, January 21, 2011 Wildwood, Florida Darlene Bell-Alexander, Esq."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Call to Action Circuit 5 Dependency Court Improvement Project Quarterly Meeting Friday, January 21, 2011 Wildwood, Florida Darlene Bell-Alexander, Esq. Senior Attorney Circuit 5 Education Attorney Marion County CLS Independent Living Specialist Childrens Legal Services, Marion County Office Florida Department of Children and Families

2 WHAT IS THE ROLE OF A TEACHER? The message is that everybody has a role in improving the educational opportunities for children in foster care. I am that teacher that can: Expect a Child to:Expect a Parent to: ___________________________________________________________ Lead a Child to:Lead a Parent to: ___________________________________________________________ Motivate a Child to:Motivate a Parent to: ___________________________________________________________ Coach a Child to:Coach a Parent to: ___________________________________________________________ Teach a student to:Teach a Parent to: ___________________________________________________________ Additional comments: Name: (optional) _____________________________________ Title: (optional) ______________________________________ Please _____share _____ do not share using my name and title

3 Why are we here? The Children Everybodys A Teacher is about creating expectations while promoting safety and excellence in education for our children

4 Why are we here? The Children 71 % of the children in foster care are between the ages of 6 and 18 (school age) It is estimated that when a student in foster care changes schools, an average of four to six months of educational progress is lost. Children in foster care in one Florida School System were more likely than same age peers to be retained in grade and score lower on standardized tests.

5 The Children 100 % of the children have hopes and dreams before coming into the dependency system. 5

6 There are laws and rules, but Together, we can find ways to do more than plan, we can find ways to help each other implement, to go from good to great

7 The GOALS The Statewide InterAgency Agreement Seeks to coordinate services for children and incorporates A Guide to Improve Education Opportunities for Floridas Foster Youth The Guide contains 11 Goals (and many suggested actions)

8 Goal 1 School Stability: Students should remain in their same school, unless it is unsafe

9 Goal 2 Seamless Transition Between Schools. Regardless of school district. –No Delay in enrollment –No Delay in records transfer –No repeating or missing valuable educational material –No Loss of credits –Minimize trauma so not overwhelmed with the move and disruption

10 Goal 3 School Readiness: Young children enter school ready to learn.

11 Goal 4 Full Participation in the School Experience: Youth have the opportunity and support to fully participate in all aspects of the school experience.

12 Goal 5 Youth have supports to prevent school dropout, truancy, and disciplinary actions.

13 Goal 6 Youth are involved in all aspects of their education and educational planning and are empowered to be advocates for their education needs.

14 Goal 7 Youth have an adult who is invested in his or her education during and after time in Foster Care, including a Surrogate Parent where appropriate.

15 Goal 8 Youth have supports to enter into, and complete, postsecondary education or obtaining employment.

16 Goal 9 Youth with Disabilities are: Identified Early & Served Appropriately

17 Goal 10 Youth are educated in a trauma-sensitive environment, recognizing the root cause of inappropriate behaviors and providing appropriate behavioral supports that create a safe environment, conducive to learning, rather than punishing youth for acting in response to their anger and hurt.

18 Goal 11 All Youth Attend and Complete School

19 New Goal 12 EVERYBODYS A TEACHER Everybody plays a role in a childs education Stay engaged. Stay proactive. And remind yourself every time you look in the mirror… EVERYBODYS A TEACHER

20 A Call to Action What is our next step in Circuit 5? 1.Create a planning group to plan and prepare for a circuit-wide Education Summit Circuit, schools, courts, guardians, providers, local and state government, youth 2.Have an Education Summit that will identify local and state education issues and solutions 3.Work towards the Education Goals which will have a meaningful impact on the children and families that we serve

21 Together Partnerships empower students in foster care to improve performance and prepare for post- secondary education, the world of work and independence. Everyone benefits from the childs success

22 Every child needs teachers

23 Darlene Bell-Alexander, Esq. Senior Attorney Circuit 5 Education Attorney Marion County Independent Living Specialist Childrens Legal Services, Marion County Office Florida Department of Children and Families (352) Office (352) Direct Line (352) Cellular


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