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6 • MAY 10, 2013 • PALM CITY & TESORO • YOUR VOICE NEWS & VIEWS

www.YourVoiceWeekly.com

United for Families asks your your VIEW help to stop the tears We are responsible for assisting every M known abused and neglected child in our y name is Christine Demetriades, chief executive officer of United for Families, and I am a 24-year veteran of the war against child abuse and neglect. I have dealt with horrors and felt the tears of children as they begin to understand what has happened to them and their families. This is a business shrouded in sadness, shame, embarrassment and anger. The main thing that helps bring hope to the world of child abuse and neglect are the many people working with us to help stop the tears. The community sends a powerful message by supporting us and I thank you so much. United for Families is your community-based care lead agency for Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee and St. Lucie counties. We have been since 2002. We are responsible for assisting every known abused and neglected child in our four counties. Our creative and unique system of care is based on the outcomes provided to us by YOU, our community. Our partners and fellow soldiers in this fight are also the many community agencies with whom we contract — about 106 contracts, vendor agreements and Memorandums of Understanding. United for Families also provides services directly: case management in St. Lucie County as of Dec. 28, 2012; Road to Success for our teens in foster

four counties.

Christine Demetriades care; Caregiver Support for the families caring for relatives; Foster Care Support to assist our wonderful foster parents; Family Group Conferencing to hopefully divert a family from entering more deeply into the system, Team One, a multi-disciplinary team which addresses the needs of the family as soon as a case is received from the Department of Children and Families, as no case can be refused, and finally, placement for the children who cannot remain safely in their home. We have unqualified annual audits. We received expedited Council on Accreditation national accreditation twice. We have many community agencies supporting our system of care through funding. We have also

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reduced the number of children safely from more than 2,000 to fewer than 1,200 on any given day. We have received awards for our partnership and the quality of our services such as Best Places to Work St. Lucie County, Spirit of St. Lucie Agency Excellence Award, 19th Judicial Circuit Leadership Award, Community Reinvestment Award, awards from the Healthy Start Coalition and Hibiscus Children’s Center and even the American Heart Association, to name a few. Our staff also serves on more than 40 boards and workgroups. Our board of directors and senior management team members

are all community leaders. We have received accolades from the National Council on Accreditation for the uniqueness and quality of our system of care. We are lean and efficient administratively. And clearly, we are very proud of ourselves and you should be too as you have helped us achieve these many outcomes! Still, the road ahead of us is long and winding and strewn with the unexpected. We need your support to light the way on this dark road. Again, thank you helping to Help Stop the Tears and End Child Abuse. Christine Demetriades is chief executive officer of United for Families.

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