Delaware to Celebrate National Adoption Day, November 23, 2019

12th Annual National Adoption Day event in Delaware.

National Adoption Day is a nationwide effort to raise awareness about the need for the adoption of children in foster care. This event in Delaware will feature speakers and legal finalizations of four child adoptions by the Family Court. These will be Delaware’s fifth live adoption finalizations on Adoption Day. Families adopting children at the event reside in Middletown, Smyrna, and Bethel.

On any given day in Delaware there are 82 children who are looking for permanent families to provide them with the love and support they need to thrive. To learn more about adoption in Delaware, please visit kids.delaware.gov/fs/adoption.shtml

WHO: Adoptive Families
DSCYF’s Division of Family Services
Family Court of Delaware
Local Adoption Agencies

WHEN & WHERE: Saturday November 23, 2019
Delaware Agricultural Museum & Village
866 N. DuPont Highway
Dover DE 19901

Adoption Ceremonies 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

CONTACT: Joseph Smack
Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families
(302) 633-2501 or 893-8930 (mobile)
Joseph.smack@delaware.gov


Child Abuse Reporting Options Expand in Delaware

For Immediate Release Contact: Joseph Smack
Monday, October 21, 2019 (302) 633-2501 or 893-8930 (m)
Joseph.smack@delaware.gov

Child Abuse Reporting Options Expand in Delaware

New reporting portal allows reports of child abuse to be received via mobile & other devices

Wilmington – The Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families (DSCYF) has launched a new reporting portal that allows both professionals and members of the community to submit online reports of suspected child abuse and neglect. The new portal, with its enhanced functionality, is more efficient and can be accessed on any mobile device or desktop. It was developed in partnership with Deloitte Digital and replaces an older online reporting form that was not able to be completed on a mobile device, nor could it transfer information directly to the child welfare database.

“We receive approximately 21,000 reports of abuse or neglect per year and timely and accurate reporting is critical to protecting the children who need our help,” said Josette Manning, Cabinet Secretary of DSCYF. “This new reporting portal will help reduce wait times for persons making reports of child abuse and neglect and will help our staff at our 24 hour report line by reducing the need to manually enter information into the database,” concluded, Manning.

To access the online reporting portal and for information about recognizing the signs of child abuse, please visit iseethesigns.org. Reporters may still utilize the child abuse and neglect hotline, at 1-800-292-9582, and should keep in mind that neither the online portal nor the hotline are a substitute for calling 911 in a true emergency. As always, reporters may choose to remain anonymous.

The Children’s Department provides services to children who have been abused, neglected, are dependent, have mental health or substance problems, have been adjudicated delinquent by the Courts, as well as prevention services targeted toward all youth. For more information, please visit https://kids.delaware.gov

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Governor Carney Marks Milestone in Housing Delawareans in Need

State Rental Assistance Program has housed 1,200 clients on 5th anniversary of collaboration

NEW CASTLE, Del. – Governor John Carney celebrated Monday the fifth anniversary of the State Rental Assistance Program, which has provided housing for 1,200 Delawareans through a unique collaboration supporting those in special need of help. The anniversary event took place at the Herman S. Holloway Campus of the Department of Health and Social Services.

“We are providing a bridge to independence, helping more Delawareans live self-sufficient lives,” said Governor Carney. “SRAP is a great example of how government agencies can work together to more efficiently deliver important services, and effectively help Delawareans in need. Thank you also to members of the General Assembly for their continued support of the program.”

The State Rental Assistance Program, or SRAP, provides rental vouchers to low-income Delawareans who require affordable housing and supportive services to live safely and independently in the community. Case managers help provide or coordinate those services and help residents through the rental process. SRAP helps particularly vulnerable populations – people exiting or at risk of admission to state long-term care institutions, youth aging out of foster care, and families for whom housing is a barrier to reunification, among others. All clients must be referred by an agency or partner.

Since 2011, more than 200 SRAP clients have successfully transitioned out of the program, either by handling rental payments on their own or by receiving housing assistance from another source. There are more than 720 families and individuals currently housed through SRAP.

SRAP client Zoraida Baez found the first apartment she has lived in that she can call her own through the program. “It’s such a relief,” said Baez, of Newark, who has also experienced homelessness. “I love it. I can come and go when I want. It’s my own place.”

SRAP is operated jointly by the Delaware State Housing Authority, which issues the vouchers; the Department of Health and Social Services, which refers clients in various programs; and the Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families, which refers former foster youth and reunification families. Funding comes from the state’s General Fund through DSHA, as well as through DHSS’ Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, totaling $5.3 million.

“This is about caring for the whole person – not just looking at one part of their needs at a time,” said DSHA Director Anas Ben Addi. “We heard from advocates that the lack of affordable housing is a barrier to many low-income people and families with special needs to live and be successful, and we responded. This partnership shows that it is possible to serve people better, with a better quality of life, while reducing public costs.”

“The State Rental Assistance Program gives vulnerable populations the one thing we all want: The opportunity to have a place to call home,” said DHSS Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker. “For people leaving facilities or individuals with disabilities, these housing vouchers offer an affordable and safe way for them to live in the community. It’s not always easy to start anew, but the teamwork of SRAP makes the transition manageable, including clients to supportive services. The collaboration across state government provides a better quality of life for the vulnerable people we serve, saves the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars and helps us build a healthier Delaware.”

“For young people leaving our foster care system, the challenges of transitioning to adulthood can be quite daunting. Sometimes their most basic needs, like a safe and affordable home, can seem unobtainable,” said DSCYF Secretary Josette Manning. “The SRAP program helps our youth secure a home so they can focus on meeting their other needs, such as education, employment and even basic health services. We are extremely grateful for this program because without it, it would be impossible for our foster children to thrive as adults.”

 

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Governor’s Statement on the Confirmation of Carla Benson-Green as Kids Department Secretary

Dover, DE – The Delaware Senate today confirmed the nomination of Carla Benson-Green to serve as Secretary of the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families, succeeding Jennifer Ranji, who was sworn in as a judge of the Delaware Family Court on November 24, 2015.  The Governor issued this statement following the confirmation:

“Carla Benson-Green has been focused on the safety and well-being of Delaware’s children and families throughout her entire career. Her compassion and experience will serve her well as she leads the Kids Department. I thank the members of the Senate for their vote of support.”


Governor Nominates Experienced Child Welfare Professional to Lead Kids Department

Carla Benson-Green has worked for the department since its inception

Wilmington, DE – Governor Jack Markell announced today he is nominating Carla Benson-Green to become the next Secretary of the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families (DSCYF). Markell will submit his nomination to the State Senate for consideration during a special session on November 30. If confirmed, Benson-Green will succeed Jennifer Ranji, who was confirmed by the Senate during a special session on October 28, and will be sworn in as a judge on the Delaware Family Court later this month.

“Carla has spent her entire career serving the children and families of our state,” said Governor Markell. “She has been with the Department since its inception in 1982, taking on increasingly demanding roles and gaining valuable skills and experience in all of the areas in which DSCYF supports Delaware families. With her leadership, we will build upon Delaware’s progress in caring for our most vulnerable children.”

Benson-Green, whose career in child welfare spans over three decades, has served as regional administrator in the Division of Family Services (DFS) since 2001. Beginning as a front-line investigation worker in DFS, she has held several leadership positions within DSCYF, including supervising the Office of Child Care Licensing and overseeing caseworkers focused on investigation, treatment and adoption services.

“I am deeply humbled and honored to be nominated by Governor Markell to lead the Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families,” said Benson-Green. “Having worked for the Department for 33 years, I know the important role the Department serves and the incredible commitment of the individuals who work there. If confirmed by the Senate, I look forward to building upon the strong foundation that has been laid to rehabilitate, treat, and protect Delaware’s children.”

In addition to her work with the Department, Benson-Green is active in her community, serving on the Harrington Senior Center Board of Directors and as co-administrator of the John Wesley Community Center.

Her commitment to serving others has been noted publicly. In 2008, she was the recipient of the Governor’s Team Excellence award for her role on the Court Improvement Project, and in 2013, she was recognized as the Iota Psi Chapter Omega Psi Phi Community Religious Leader of the Year.

Benson-Green graduated with honors from Morgan State University with a Bachelor of Science in Mental Health. She currently resides in Dover with her husband Ernest and two children, Nikia and Jalen.

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