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2003 News from Mecklenburg County

April 17, 2003


Charlotte, NC -- Representatives from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the State of North Carolina Children's Services Division plan a two-day visit to Mecklenburg County to review how the Department of Social Services (DSS) is progressing with its child welfare system reform effort called Communities for Families & Kids (CFK).

The visit is set for Monday and Tuesday, April 21-22. The focus of the visit will be on reviewing progress in the four core CFK strategies: community & neighborhood partnerships, neighborhood based recruitment of resource families, Team Decision Making & Multiple Response, and self-evaluation. The representatives from the Casey Foundation and Children's Service Division will meet with YFS staff, community contract providers, and neighborhood stakeholders during the course of this two-day visit. The team last visited Mecklenburg County in October 2002.

The Casey Foundation along with the state of North Carolina helped to fund the effort which the DSS Youth and Family Services Division (YFS) began in 2001. The CFK reform initiative includes these key values:

· Every child deserves a family

· All families need the support of their community

· Youth and Family Services needs its community and neighborhood sponsors to protect and support children

Mecklenburg County initiated its system reform efforts in two target areas: zip codes 28208 and 28205. These areas were selected based on the disproportionate number of children entering foster care.

"The focus of CFK is to connect families with resources in their neighborhood so that children can remain safely within their own family,'' said Catherine Lester, system reform coordinator for YFS. "And, if this is not possible, then our intent is to work with neighborhoods to find, recruit and train foster parents who live in the same communities where the children live so that the children stay connected to their community."

The visit will conclude with an exit conference on April 22, 2003 at 11 a.m. in room 266 of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center at 600 East Fourth Street, Charlotte.

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