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Post-Irma update on state of the children

Port St. Lucie - As of the latest storm update Wednesday, September 13, all 1,039 children served by the Devereux Community Based Care child-welfare system have been accounted safe.

Devereux CBC and its key subcontracted staff have held daily conference calls since last Wednesday to assess storm readiness. The calls continued after the storm as child-welfare professionals reported on impacts to local service centers and staff, as well as their efforts to reconnect with children and families in care.

Those reports include updates from all local group homes, case management agencies and the child-placing agencies responsible for foster-home licensing:

Local group homes
•    2 Welcoming Arms sheltered in place and never lost power
•    Brighter Futures also sheltered in place without losing power
•    Real Life Children's Ranch sheltered in place and lost power in two of its family-style homes
•    Hibiscus Children's Center, in Jensen Beach, sheltered in place and lost power temporarily
•    Hibiscus Children's Village, in Vero Beach, evacuated to a local shelter
Child placing agencies

Camelot Community Care, which is the licensing agency for 63 of Devereux CBC's 152 foster homes, had made contact with all but one of its homes by 4 p.m. Monday. That family, who had evacuated the state but had no children, were finally reached today, Wednesday.

Place of Hope
had reported all of its homes safe by Monday.

4Kids, which is responsible for 37 of Devereux CBC's foster homes, also reported 100 percent of families accounted for by late Monday. Of those families, three had evacuated the area. Mount Bethel also reported all foster parents and children safe.

In-home and relative placements

By 4 p.m. Tuesday, all families had been contacted and reported safe in Indian River and Okeechobee counties, while case managers in St. Lucie and Martin counties confirmed contact with 100 percent of their families by Wednesday.

Also reported safe were three children in the custody of the Department of Corrections and two of four teens on runaway status prior to the storm. Of the runaways, one self-reported her safety and the other was picked up by law enforcement.

On Wednesday, child-welfare professionals continued their efforts to contact - and bring home - the remaining two teens.

Staff and service centers

All four service centers, headquarters and the training facility had power when staff reported to work Wednesday, although Martin County lost it again in the morning and Okeechobee County was without internet service.

Affected staff, however, worked remotely or reported to alternate locations.

"It was more or less business as usual today," said Christina Kaiser, Devereux CBC community relations director. "Honestly, we were never out of business - emergency or no emergency, we have a duty to ensure the safety of all children in our care."

For more information, including how to become a foster parent, please click here.

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September 13, 2017
Contact: Christina Kaiser
(772) 528-0362