For Immediate Release: March 15, 2013
Contact: Nicole Stookey, Northwest Region Communication Director, (850)
Social Workers Help Children, Families, Vulnerable Adults in Need
DCF recognizes employees for National Professional Social Work Month
TALLAHASSEE— Jennifer Parker, a Child Protective Investigator in Santa Rosa
County, recently received a report about a three-year-old who sustained
severe chemical burns after drinking from a sippy cup filled with liquids
used to manufacture methamphetamine. Jennifer spent hours making
arrangements for the sick child to see his older brothers during the
lengthy hospital stay. Jennifer took the brothers to the hospital and was
there to see the boy’s face light up when seeing his siblings.
This is just one of thousands of examples of what our employees at the
Department of Children and Families do every single day. March is National
Professional Social Work Month, a time for government and nonprofit
organizations to highlight the efforts of our social workers.
“This month is a great opportunity to show appreciation to all of the
social workers in our lives,” said Secretary David Wilkins. “I want to
thank all of our employees and our partners who work so hard to keep
children and families safe, provide critical assistance to those in need,
and treat individuals with substance abuse and mental health problems.”
Professional social workers are found in every facet of community life—in
schools, hospitals, mental health clinics, senior centers, elected office,
prisons, military, corporations, and in numerous public and private
agencies that serve families in need.
Taylor Leonard, a counselor in Adult Protective Services in Tampa, helped
an elderly client with breast cancer. Our client did not seek treatment
after her diagnosis because she had no health insurance and did not qualify
for medical benefits. Unwilling to accept the client’s plight, Taylor
contacted Moffitt Cancer Center and they accepted the woman as a charity
patient. Our client is now receiving the cancer treatment she needs.
In 2012, our agency investigated more than 180,000 allegations of child
abuse and neglect. Our adult protective services investigated more than
45,000 cases of abuse, neglect and exploitation of vulnerable adults. Our
Customer Call Centers receive about 2.2 million calls every month from our
clients in need.
Jenny Soriano-Priestly, a training manager in Miami, saved a family to
ready give up on each other. The grandparents disapproved of the
hard-partying ways and irresponsible behavior of their granddaughter, a
teenage mom living in their home. Jenny quickly got the grandparents and
young mother the help they needed. Jenny still keeps in touch with the
grandparents and they happily share the progress made by their
granddaughter and great grandchild.
Gov. Rick Scott signed a proclamation this month to recognize March as
National Professional Social Work Month in Florida. That proclamation is
For more examples of how our employees and partners give a hand up to
families and individuals in need, please visit the DCF blog at