HISTORY

The Florida Network of Youth and Family Services is a non-profit statewide association of agencies which serve runaway, truant, ungovernable and other troubled youth and their families. This population is defined by the statute as Children and Families in Need of Services or CINS/FINS. The services provided by the Network's member agencies are designed to prevent juvenile delinquency and child abuse through the strengthening of youth and families. For thirty years, the Florida Network member agencies have been providing services to these troubled youth and families with significant success. With a statewide delivery system of core services, a statutorily defined target population and commitment to preserving the creativity and flexibility that comes from private community-based community driven agencies, the Florida Network and its' member agencies have served nearly one million youth and families from a diverse range of people including visible minorities, people with disabilities, new immigrants and many others.

1960sYouth began leaving home in greater numbers, many of them migrating to communes and the streets of our communities, typified by the Haight-Ashbury District of San Francisco.
1973Police discovered the bodies of 27 youth buried in shallow graves in the Houston area, many of them runaways from middle class America.
1974Congress passed the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (Title III), establishing 60 programs to serve runaways nationwide, six of them in Florida (Jacksonville, Daytona Beach, Merritt Island, Gainesville, Tampa and Miami).
1976The Florida Network of Youth and Family Services was incorporated with an office in Tampa.
1981The Florida Legislature provided state funds for runaway services for the first time (in response to federal budget cuts).
1982The Florida Network Office opened in Tallahassee.
1983Florida's Runaway Youth and Family Act was passed and a statewide Runaway Youth Task Force was formed.
1984Legislative mandate passed for Florida to have 23 full service centers, serving every area of the state, with a full range of services, from prevention to aftercare, to troubled teens and families. Florida Network staff was expanded to collect data on runaways for the state, provide quality assurance controls, train agency staff members, and assist with communications and fund raising.
1988The Florida Youth & Family Foundation was created; headed by Florida First Lady Mary Jane Martinez. The Florida Runaway Hotline was established.
1992The Florida Legislature privatized services to CINS/FINS population. Centralized client intake and assessments were removed from the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services (DHRS) and were contracted out to the community-based Florida Network agencies.
1994Funding and oversight of CINS/FINS services moved from the DHRS to the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).
1994-99Additional shelters are being added bringing the total to 30.
2001DJJ entered into a single, statewide contract with the Florida Network to provide CINS/FINS services. The Florida Runaway Hotline was eliminated due to budget cuts after the 9-11-01 terrorist attacks in New York.<br /><br><br><br />Florida TaxWatch releases a study finding the Florida Network services save taxpayers millions of dollars each year by successfully diverting children from juvenile justice programs.<br /><br><br><br />Clear Channel produces a video entitled, <a href="emergencyvideo.php">"Family Emergency"</a>, about the services provided to Children and Families in Need of Services.
2003The Neighborhood Partnership Project begins across the state, providing counseling to children in locales closer to their home through partnerships with grassroots organizations.
2004The statewide brochure is produced in three languages, English, Spanish and Creole.
2005The Florida Network is awarded a federal grant to served children from other countries that are not citizens but are left in the USA without parents.
2006The Florida Legislature provides funding to raise the starting pay for youth shelter care workers statewide to $10.50 per hour.<br /><br><br><br />This begins to provide special services to the soldiers and families of the Florida National Guard.
2007The Florida Network celebrates 30 years of Leadership
2008The Florida Network is nationally recognized by the American Bar Association and the Vera Institute of Justice as an exemplar program in its study paper titled "Model for Change-System Reform in Juvenile Justice. The New York Times features the Florida Network in article "Florida Steps in Early to Help Troubled Teenagers".
2009The Florida Network is recognized by the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention as a best practice in the deinstitutionalization of status offenders.
2010The Associated Press does a follow-up article that is printed by newspapers statewide featuring the Florida Network titled "Intercepting youths on the path to trouble".
2011The Justice Research Center of Tallahassee completes a cost savings study of the Florida Network - "Findings from the cost effectiveness evaluation suggest that more than $160 million in subsequent DJJ juvenile justice placement expenses were avoided as a result of Florida Network non-residential and residential shelter services. Investing in Florida Network's services is economically beneficial, with a nearly $5.50 return for every dollar invested in quality preventions programs for you at-risk for delinquency. A dollar invested today is multiplied in future for Florida's children and Families."