Florida's Children First
Florida’s Children First is an acclaimed non-profit dedicated to making major systemic changes that positively impact Florida’s disabled, disadvantaged and youth in foster care. We developed the Florida Youth SHINE program, now 14 statewide chapters strong, to provide youth in foster care with the support, mentorship, guidance and life skills they need to achieve better long-term outcomes as they age out of care to independent living and become strong advocates for their own needs. Florida Youth SHINE’s innovative youth-run, peer-led model allows youth in foster care to communicate, relate and respond to their fellow foster youth in a manner best-suited to their unique shared life experiences, as they advocate for positive change to the system of care. By educating others on life in foster care, Florida's Children First has achieved significant reforms to the child welfare system and Florida Youth SHINE has become a renowned national model of success. By empowering these vulnerable youth to share their painful stories they have created systemic change, healed themselves, and helped so many of their peers prevent their past from defining their future.