Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Florida

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Devereux Kids GAP & Youth Leadership Council

The GAP Program

Devereux Kids’ Gap Program “Guardians as Parents” was created in Circuit 10 in May 2007, serving Polk, Highlands and Hardee counties to assist relative and non-relative caregivers within the first 30 days of a child being placed into their home.  The GAP team works to empower families who have taken children into their homes because of child maltreatment. However, the caregivers (non-relative and relative) choose to make it work to avoid having the children placed in Foster Care.

Referrals are received by Case Managers and Child Protective Investigators.  The GAP team assists the caregivers in gaining access to community resources, and benefits they may be eligible for at the time of the initial placement.  Caregivers receive community resource information and are provided with one-on-one assistance, specifically with regard to completing important documents, temporary cash assistance, Medicaid, and food stamps.

GAP staff also facilitate seven monthly caregiver’s support groups throughout Highlands, Hardee and Polk counties. The groups have taken on a leadership role and are becoming more self-supporting and provide the caregivers an opportunity to form an informal network of supports for each other.
The GAP team reaches out to the community and partners with various businesses to offer the caregiver a discount whether it is a restaurant, fun events for the family, pet grooming services and much more.
The GAP team often times will follow up and contact a CPI or CM to be sure daycare referrals, and other concerns are completed in a timely manner.   Our practices are based on the belief that all community members are responsible for the safety and well-being of children. As such, a large part of our efforts are working to engage businesses, community service agencies and the faith based community in our service to families. 



Youth Leadership Council - Youth Spring Into Action (YSIA)

Devereux Kids provides educational support to Sulphur Springs youth ages 13-18. This teen-led program offers opportunities for leadership development, college tours, career shadowing, community service projects, scholastic achievement, as well as friendships and social connection with other teens. In addition, a Youth and Family Success meeting is available for each teen to identify and assist them with their individual future goals. Almost any situation can benefit from a Youth and Family Success meeting.  Action plan items can include: assessing academic needs, college and/or career goals, identifying grants, scholarships and financial aid, tutoring, resume writing, developing interviewing and soft skills.

Youth Spring Into Action participates annually in community events such as the Martin Luther King Jr. Parade, Relay for Life, in and out of state college tours and Children’s Week in Tallahassee. Created by the teens, YSIA mission statement is “empowering ourselves to better our community.” The overall mission is to assist residents and community leaders in Sulphur Springs in building its capacity to be a healthy and safe community for the children, families and residents who live there. Devereux Kids staff provide mentoring and advisement. Funding is provided by the Spurlino Family Foundation, Conn Memorial and the Tampa Bay Lightning.