E-Update Winter 2015 E-Update Winter 2015


Heart Gallery Newsletter -The Face of foster Care-

www.ChildNet.us                                                                                                      Winter 2015  


Message from Emilio

Over the past 18 months, Broward and Palm Beach Counties have seen a dramatic rise in the number of children coming into the child welfare system. ChildNet is now serving more than 4,700 children in the region. The resulting cost increases for shelter and services have caused a financial strain on the organization, and in an effort to improve the situation, ChildNet has been working diligently with the Department of Children & Families (DCF) and Florida state legislators. Last month, the Florida State Joint Legislative Budget Commission approved a reallocation of DCF funds, providing ChildNet Palm Beach with a one-time allocation of $5.09 million. These funds will greatly ease the deficit ChildNet Palm Beach has been experiencing. While additional recurring funding is still needed, we deeply appreciate DCF and the legislators for this show of support. Together, we can and we will give each and every one of the 4,700 children a safe, permanent place to call home.  

Emilio Benitez, President & CEO, ChildNet, Inc.


Foster Parents Write Letters to Florida Legislators

Broward County Foster & Adoptive Parent Association (FAPA) undertook a letter writing campaign to ask key Florida Legislators to support Community-Based Care lead agencies. "We decided to dedicate our January and February meetings to writing to our policymakers," said Keith Best, FAPA's President. "We want them to know that the inadequate funding for the high number of children in the dependency system directly affects our foster children." The letters expressed foster parents' commitment to the children in their care; shared stories about wonderful case managers; and requested that elected officials "put the lives of our children first by providing additional funding for case managers."

"Each and every day foster parents in our community go above and beyond to care for children who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected," said ChildNet Director of Community Relations Elizabeth Wynter. "They see the difference that having a consistent case manager makes in achieving permanency for the children. They understand that the lack of state funding impacts everyone involved in the child welfare system – foster parents, case managers, and most importantly, children in care. We so appreciate FAPA's advocacy and encourage others to tell their legislators that these vulnerable children need and deserve a fully funded child welfare system."

Click HERE to visit ChildNet's website to learn more about becoming a foster and adoptive parent.  


Circle of Supporters Member Spotlight: Nick Alonso 

The Circle of Supporters, ChildNet's annual giving society, welcomes new member Nick Alonso, Principal, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at CareerXChange. Nick is a thirty-year veteran of the executive search and talent management industry and co-founded his current company more than 25 years ago. Nick shared his thoughts about why he decided to become a Circle of Supporters member.

Impression of ChildNet
I did not know about the thousands of children that enter the child welfare system and need ChildNet's help. Where better to invest than in our kids. They are our future.

Want people to know about children in foster care
Children in our systems are not left overs. They are not second class kids. They deserve the same level of care and all those extras that kids from strong family circles receive -- things like new clothes for the new school year, laptop computers for school and financial support to participate in sports, summer camps, school dances and proms. 

Fun Fact that Surprises People 
It took a village of people to introduce me to ChildNet. Now that I am part of the Circle of Supporters, I am excited to associate myself with the organization and the incredible group of people involved with them. I look forward to working with ChildNet to help make a difference for children in foster care.

ChildNet's Circle of Supporters donations allow children in foster care to have happy childhood memories. Members enjoy quarterly networking receptions, exclusive events, and the satisfaction of knowing that 100 percent of their donation goes to children who have been abused, abandoned,or neglected. Thanks to the generosity of members like Nick, ChildNet was able to say "yes" to 175 children last year when they asked to go to summer camp, take dance lessons or play on the football team. But with the number of children in foster care swelling to well over 4,700 in Broward and Palm Beach Counties, the need continues to grow. 

Click HERE to learn more about the Circle of Supporters. Click HERE to attend the Circle of Supporters Cocktail Mixer at Timpano. 


Undercover Angels Leads Duffle Bag Drive 

Undercover Angels recently partnered with ChildNet to hold a duffle bag drive. They engaged the Florida Panthers and PriorityONE Credit Union to be drop off sites and collected an astounding 500 duffle bags for children entering the foster care system.

"As a single parent, I know firsthand what it is like to need help," shared Undercover Angels' Founder and CEO Ginger Gilley. She struggled raising two children while putting herself through college and experiencing unemployment. Ginger learned there were others like her and created Undercover Angels to bring relief to people in need. So when she heard that kids often come into the dependency system with their meager belongings in trash bags, she rallied local businesses to help promote and serve as drop-off points for the Duf-Fulls of Love duffle bag drive. The duffle bags will be donated to ChildNet for children entering into care. "These kids need to know that they are important – that they matter," said Ginger.

To learn how you can help children in foster care, click HERE to visit ChildNet's website.


Palm Beach Care for Kids Luncheon

ChildNet Palm Beach will hold its second annual Care for Kids Luncheon, presented by Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital at Memorial, on April 9, 2015 at Frenchman's Reserve. Proceeds from the event will benefit children in foster care. ChildNet is excited to have its Board Member and CBS 12 News Anchor Liz Quirantes as the Mistress of Ceremony and to honor Melissa McKinlay, newly elected to the Palm Beach County Commission. "Melissa is an avid supporter of children in care and has been instrumental in educating community leaders about the needs of the child welfare system," said Larry Rein, ChildNet Executive Director. Melissa served on ChildNet's Board of Directors as the chair of the Palm Beach Advisory Board. "Every child deserves a chance to grow up in a safe, healthy and stable environment," said Melissa. "I have dedicated myself professionally and personally to make that happen for all our children."

Click HERE to purchase tickets to the Palm Beach luncheon or call Gillian Moxey at 561.352.2500 ext. 2459 to learn how you can become a sponsor.


Broward Care for Kids Luncheon

ChildNet Broward will hold its Care for Kids Luncheon, presented by Boise, Schiller & Flexner LLP, on May 15, 2015 at Pier Top Lounge, Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six, benefitting children in foster care. ChildNet is thrilled to honor Lorraine Thomas, widow of Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy's restaurants. Dave was adopted as a baby and committed his philanthropic life to advocating and supporting adoption issues. "Lorraine is dedicated to continuing Dave's legacy and supports the Wendy's Wonderful Kids adoption program at ChildNet," says Sigrid McCawley, Vice President of ChildNet's Board of Directors. "Every time a child in foster care is given a loving, permanent home, we fulfill Dave's greatest wish," says Lorraine. "But there are so many kids out there still waiting to be adopted. That's how we know we have to keep pushing forward."

Click HERE to purchase tickets to the Broward luncheon or call Bibi Deen at 954.414.6000 ext. 8043 to learn how you can become a sponsor.    


Event Calendar

March 25        Circle of Supporters Cocktail Mixer at Timpano, Broward County
April 9             Care for Kids Luncheon, Palm Beach County
May 3             Foster Parent Appreciation Lunch, Palm Beach County
May 15           Care for Kids Luncheon, Broward County
May 28           Foster Parent Appreciation Reception, Broward County


Support ChildNet by Shopping

at AmazonSmile 

When you shop at AmazonSmile, Amazon will donate to ChildNet.  Simply click HERE to go directly to the smile.amazon.com page in support of ChildNet.  You can also save the link (http://smile.amazon.com/ch/65-1149351) in your browser for easy access everytime you are ready to shop on Amazon.  


Fall into the Net

Join ChildNet on the net and help cast the safety net for children in foster care. Visit, like and follow ChildNet on the web, Facebook and Twitter to comment on the latest news, events, photos and more!   



ChildNet Broward County                                      
313 North State Road 7
Plantation, FL 33317      

Phone: 954-414-6000 | Fax: 954-414-6019   

ChildNet Palm Beach County           
4100 Okeechobee Blvd.
West Palm
Beach, FL 33409  
Phone: 561-352-2500  I  Fax: 561-352-2480                

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