The Crittenton home in Jacksonville, Florida, Buckner Manor, was first established as a center providing services to pregnant, single women in 1970 when local citizen, Mrs. Loca Lee Buckner directed that such a home be built in her last will and testament. From its inception, Buckner Manor worked closely with the Children’s Home Society of Florida, and most adoptions were handled through CHS. On December 27th, 1982 Buckner Manor merged into CHS Florida, becoming the 12th division of this statewide organization, which has been providing services to children and families since 1901.
Children’s Home Society in Florida is working to build strong families, keep families together, and give children and young adults the skills to reach their goals. CHS provides a wide range of services across the state of Florida in over 60 different counties including counseling services, child welfare services, adoption, residential and shelter services, a variety of support programs for children and parents, advocacy centers, and partnerships with schools in the community. Counseling services are made available where families can be most comfortable, whether that is in the home, in school, or at a CHS office. Telemedicine and tele-psychiatry are an option for many families in a range of counties for medication management.
Children’s Home offers support for children and families involved in the child welfare system and provide families with dependency case management, connecting them to programs within CHS that will help them achieve long-lasting success. This includes an Early Childhood Court program with a team of advocates, therapists, child welfare professional and services providers. Children and families involved with child welfare also have access to all services offered at CHS.
Training and certification to become a foster parent is available at Children’s Home as well as continued support and resources once a child is placed with a family, CHS offers several types of foster care, traditional, therapeutic, medical, and treatment. All foster parents receive specialized training dependent on what type of foster care they provide with the ultimate goal that children can successfully return home to their families. Adoption services are also available at CHS for both private infant adoption or adoption from foster care dependent on the individual case.
Children’s Home Society has 11 different sites across Florida that provide residential services to children in need of a safe haven while they prepare for the next stage in their life. Each home is unique and meets specific needs ranging from gender-specific services, pregnant or parenting teens, children who need emergency shelter, or young adults who have exited foster care without families to return home to. CHS also has Safe Place Shelters for youth 10-17 who are in crisis and offer counseling and basic necessities.
Children’s Home Society has also partnered with Microsoft on two different projects, CaseAIM, and Tech Success. CaseAIM is an app created with the intention to mobilize case management with the goal to reduce turn over and increase face time with clients. Tech Success is a program that serves children living in poverty, foster care, or struggling to keep up in school due to lack of tech access and skills. The program provides access and training on the latest technology as well as mentorship and employment opportunities.
Michael J. Shaver, Chief Executive Officer of CHS Florida, is a longtime advocate for children and a recognized leader in the child welfare industry. Mr. Shaver believes in using research, evidence, and data to develop, deliver, and analyze innovative practices and programs to ensure children and families receive only effective, quality services. He is committed to driving change within Florida’s child welfare system and is a respected thought leader committed to doing what’s best for children.