New report sheds light on designated funds not going to Florida foster kids

kidsA new report shows that Florida’s children in foster care may not be getting the money they deserve.The report is from the Children’s Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego School of Law.

Foster children in the state’s custody receive federal benefits. The reports says one year of benefits is equivalent to the cost of two years of books and college supplies, or ten months of rent for a one bedroom apartment.

Robin Rosenberg is a juvenile lawyer and deputy director of Florida’s Children First. She says Florida laws are good, but it’s a matter of enforcement.

“It’s not like many other states where legal reform is required. In Florida, it’s just a matter of making sure that everyone in the system, both the children and their adult supporters, are familiar with the law and process so that the children can ask for the money to be used for the purpose they designate.”

The money can go to enriching foster children’s lives. Rosenberg says the lack of funds distribution is not ill intent, just a lack of knowledge.

“Children need to know, ‘hey I’m getting this money, and I want the money to go to summer camp, or buy a band instrument. I need to have access to my money.”

The implementation falls to all levels of frontline workers.

“Educating their case workers, guardians ad litem, attorneys, the court system, the caregivers, to all know that this process exists, to read the paperwork that they get – when they get the paperwork – and to help the children themselves understand what they’re rights are”

Rosenberg says it’s an awareness issue, and encourages those who know foster child guardians to make sure they know about the money their foster child could be receiving.


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Alexia Nechayev

FYS Events & Meeting Chair
(Palm Beach)

Hello, My name is Alexia Nechayev. I am 25 years old and I am an alumna of Florida International University where I received my B.A. in Psychology. My future career goal is to be a Lawyer. I was in care for about one year from age 17 to 18. Prior to entering care, I only knew about the negative stigma regarding foster care and while in care that narrative was unfortunately my experience.

In school I felt like I was on display because my status in care was broadcast to other students and in my placement behavior was leveraged for “privileges” that should be a natural right of all children. Because I did not know my rights I did not know that what I was experiencing was wrong. Today this is exactly why I advocate, because I don’t want this to be the same for other youth who are experiencing foster care.

This is my second year on the FYS Statewide Board and I’m happy to be the Events and Meetings Chair this year because my main goal through advocacy is to reach as many people as possible. My favorite thing as a board member is to see how comfortable members become while working together. The community needs to know that youth in foster care are real people, going through some of the hardest moments of their life and youth need to know that their voice is powerful. I believe that we have to speak up and bring these issues to people’s attention so that they do not forget us. Advocacy, education and consistency is the only way.

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