Home Social group FSS Agency Supports Foster Care System in Pinellas, Pasco Counties

FSS Agency Supports Foster Care System in Pinellas, Pasco Counties

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The foster care system in Pinellas and Pasco counties is about to undergo a major overhaul and more social workers are needed to do so.

There’s a new sheriff in town — so to speak, when it comes to fixing the foster care system in Pinellas and Pasco counties.

“It’s a new day and things are going to be very different than before,” said Jen Petion, CEO of Family Support Services Suncoast.

“FSS” is the agency that supports the foster care system that is responsible for the welfare of over 2,600 children between the two counties.

He was tasked with cleaning up a mess. At the end of 2021, Eckerd Connects lost its contract with the state. At the same time, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri launched a criminal investigation that accused Eckerd Connects of sleeping children in its office buildings because it had nowhere to put them.

The sheriff says some of the children were also left unattended, had dirty clothes and not enough food.

READ ‘I’m still having nightmares’: Former foster child recalls Eckerd Connects experiences

Petion says family support services can make the switch because they are new and have experience in other areas.

“We have a reputation for stepping in and working with our partners to reduce the number of children in the out-of-home care system,” she said.

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FSS also has millions of additional dollars in its budget, approved by the legislature and awaiting the governor’s signature.

There is always a crying need for more social workers, which they are trying to achieve through a series of job fairs.

Learn more about available positions at https://familysupport.org/.