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Big Brothers Big Sisters

‘Foster Shock’ documentary takes Florida’s privatized child welfare system to task

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A documentary film about Florida’s privatized child welfare and fostering programs — made by a Guardian ad Litem and filmmaker from Palm Beach — casts a draconian look at what happens to children when they are taken from abusive situations at home and become dependents of the state, at taxpayer expense, often to their peril. “Foster Shock,” which is currently being screened around the state at community viewings and nationally film festivals, was directed and produced by Mari Frankel, who…

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Senate budget: Don Gaetz questioned over mentoring funding

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As the Florida Senate began considering its proposed $80.9 billion budget, state Sen. Don Gaetz on Wednesday defended his recommendation for a $30 million competitive grants program for after-school mentoring instead of direct funding. Gaetz, who chairs the Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee, said he wanted to save nonprofits on “expensive lobbying and the anguish of the Legislative Session.” “We shouldn’t have to put those people through that,” the Niceville Republican said, referring to being left out of the budget. His subcommittee “felt that (by) taking it…

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Senate budget eliminates direct funding for youth mentoring

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State Sen. Joe Negron, a former budget panel chief, told his colleagues last month in an acceptance speech for his upcoming Senate presidency that the state must do more for its troubled children and teens. “We should not and we will not tolerate serious wrongdoing by young people but, at the same time, let’s not criminalize adolescence,” he said, according to the Senate Journal’s version. Most experts agree that after-school mentoring programs, such as those offered by Big Brothers Big Sisters, are effective at…

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