Florida’s Children First, the state’s premier advocacy organization for at-risk children, will host the Florida’s Children First 2015 Broward Reception tonight – Thursday, February 26 – from 5:30-7:30PM at the Riverside Hotel (620 East Las Olas Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301). The organization will honor child advocates in Broward at its annual fundraising and awards event. Community and business leaders, and all other persons concerned about the future of Florida’s children, especially abused, abandoned and neglected children and youth, will be in attendance.
Among those being honored this year are Child Advocate of the Year Senator Eleanor Sobel; Corporate Partner of the Year G4S; and Tracey McPharlin Pro Bono Counsel of the Year Stacie Schmerling. The Youth Advocate of the Year is Lamont Dennis.
Senator Sobel was nominated as the Child Advocate of the Year for her work in the Senate as chair of the Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee. She has been a friend to FCF and a great advocate for children in the child welfare system and for children with disabilities. She is also being honored for her work on SB 1666 which incorporated key language for Real-time Reporting of Child Deaths, Non-Relative Caregiver Funding, Keeping Siblings Together, Tracking of Child on Child Sexual Assault, CBC and CPI Services Provision and Tracking, and Accountability.
G4S is recognized for their loyal and generous support over a period of several years. Originally, as the Wackenhut company they began supporting FCF in 2004. In recent years, they have increased their contributions from both the G4S Youth Services and G4S secure Solutions divisions demonstrating a loyal and an increasing commitment to FCF and the children that we serve.
Stacie Schmerling was appointed through the Tracy McPharlin Pro Bono Initiative at Legal Aid of Broward to a case that lasted three years. Ultimately, Stacie worked to insure the children were protected but all family ties were kept. Today the children are in a safe, happy and healthy environment, adopted by their grandparents and enjoy a relationship with the extended family. Stacie, learned dependency law from her mentor Tracey McPharlin while she was a law student at Nova University and an intern at Colodny Fass.
Lamont has navigated hurdles that would have sidelined many of his peers. His biological mom, after a life of incarceration and homelessness, passed away when Lamont was just six years old. Lamont has made a success of his life and is known as a advocate across our community for speaking on behalf of children in foster, relative and non-relative care. Lamont forged relationships with members of the Children’s Services Council of Broward County and during the recent reauthorization; he emerged as a leading youth spokesperson for the campaign. Lamont travelled to Tallahassee with Florida Youth Shine during the last session and quite literally, became the face of non-relative care in the State of Florida.
RSVP online at www.floridaschildrenfirst.org or Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 954-796-0860
About Florida’s Children First: Florida’s Children First is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the rights of at-risk children and youth, especially those in foster care. Uniquely positioned as Florida’s premiere independent advocacy organization, our mission is to seek full representation of children and youth and obtain meaningful and sustainable improvement in Florida’s child serving systems.