• S3

Podcast Series

Season 3


The third season of the Florida Institute for Child Welfare podcast series will premier summer 2021. Tune in to hear Dr. Jessica Pryce, director of the Institute, interview leaders in child welfare about the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) of 2018.

FFPSA aims to prevent unnecessary removal of children from their families by allowing federal funding for mental health services, substance use treatment, and in-home parenting skill training. It also attempts to improve the well-being of children in foster care and provides for increased support for young people as they transition from foster care to adulthood.

The FFPSA will be implemented in Florida beginning September 2, 2021. Listen to this season's episodes as our guests discuss how the FFPSA will impact Florida's frontline professionals and families.

Jessica Pryce

Producer: Marianna Tutwiler
Sound Engineer: Breanna Bruner

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Podcast Archive:

Season 1  |  Season 2

Guest: Ginger Griffeth

Ginger Griffeth is the Florida Child Welfare Director of Policy and Practice at the Department of Children and Families Office of Child Welfare. She is a former Director for Performance and Quality Management at the Department of Children and Families Office of Child Welfare and previously worked as the statewide Safety Manager for the Department of Children and Families. She also worked as a child welfare consultant and practice model expert within Florida's community-based care system. Her 17-year career began in Florida's frontlines, serving Florida's children and families through various capacities, including quality assurance/continuous quality improvement, operations, data and reporting, policy, and federal liaison. 


coming soon on:
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coming soon:
Episode Transcript   Episode Resources 


Episode Description

In this episode, Ginger Griffeth will discuss the exciting opportunities that Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) provides to rethink how Florida’s system of care can provide safe, early prevention services to children at risk of entering foster care. She will also discuss placement array development that prioritizes the utilization of kinship navigation, the establishment of a network of caring and trauma-informed foster families, and specialized residential treatment programs to provide a safe place for children who are removed.

I'm very clear that we believe that the vision for Florida and prevention even goes beyond evidence-based prevention services and expands beyond the vision of FFPSA. And for us, FFPSA is just the beginning.” —Griffeth


GuestS: Chris Groeber

Chris Groeber, MSW, has over 32 years of child welfare experience. He is currently a faculty member in Social Work at the University of South Florida. He also manages a small human service consulting company called “Gro and Co.” and works with several other consulting companies. Previously, Chris was the U.S. CEO for Key Assets, part of an international child welfare organization. Chris has developed many programs for child welfare, both in his home State of Kentucky and nationally. He has served as author and Principle Investigator on federal projects while on faculty at the University of Kentucky and has implemented numerous statewide training programs for foster and adoptive parents. 

David DeStefano

David DeStefano has nearly 30 years’ experience providing consultation on various issues impacting the implementation of child welfare and other health and human service programs. During his career, he has provided consultation and operational support on various aspects of child welfare programming in more than a dozen states and has worked extensively with Florida CBCs as well as the Florida Department of Children and Families. His primary areas of work focused on program analysis and practice integration in the area of child welfare. Mr. DeStefano holds a BA in Psychology from Purdue University and an MA in Public Policy.


Available on:
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Episode Transcript 


Episode Description

Listen to Chris Groeber and David DeStefano discuss how the FFPSA will change the way frontline staff will work and how the Act will ultimately improve outcomes for families. 

I really think evidence-based practice is here to stay for the long-haul. I think it is future of child welfare and of human services, in general. —DeStephano


Dr. Shamra boel-studt

Shamra Boel-Studt, PhD, MSW is an Associate Professor in the College of Social Work at the Florida State University and a faculty affiliate of the Florida Institute for Child Welfare. Dr. Boel-Studt has over 15 years of experience in practice, training/technical assistance, research, and evaluation in child welfare. She has expertise in intervention research, measurement, and statistics. Her research focuses on improving the quality and effectiveness of services for youth served in residential care settings. She is serving as the principal investigator for the Florida Group Care Quality Standards Assessment.

ms. Zandra Odum 

Zandra Odum, M.Ed. currently serves as a Project Coordinator in the Office of Child Welfare within the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF). In her present role, Zandra actively engages with internal and external stakeholders to provide project planning, coordination, and implementation support for multiple statewide initiatives. For the Group Care Quality Standards, she is serving as the project lead for DCF. Zandra has more than 20 years experience working in the areas of education and child welfare, which includes time spent as a counselor, supervisor and operations manager with the Florida Abuse Hotline, program director with Children's Home Society, school-based behavioral specialist in Leon County, residential care specialist with an all-girls group home, and youth educator with a community organization.


Available on:
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Episode Description

Join us as we discuss recent federal and state child welfare policies and their implications for the future of residential group care. We will exam the FFPSA and how it affects the availability of federal dollars to specific residential care settings and places limits on placement timeframes. Dr. Pryce will speak with Dr. Shamra Boel-Studt and Ms. Zandra Odum to learn about Florida’s efforts to implement the FFPSA and the new mandated accountability system. 

FFPSA, I think the best way to look at it when it comes to residential care is really an opportunity to revision. It’s a long-standing need to really revise and find residential care’s best, right place on the child welfare continuum. —Boel-Studt


Guest: dr. Anna Yelick

Dr. Anna Yelick completed her dissertation in the Spring 2018 at Florida State University, which focused on potential biases in removal recommendations based on family structure. Dr. Yelick accepted a position with the Florida Institute of Child Welfare as a post-doctoral fellow, working alongside Dr. Pryce and the FICW affiliates. Dr. Yelick hopes to continue to examine decision-making among child welfare professionals to better serve children and families most at need. Dr. Yelick is currently working several Institute projects including work on disparity within the child welfare field, using predictive analytics to improve workload among child protective investigators, and training for child welfare supervision.

Michelle Mongeluzzo

Michelle Mongeluzzo holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminology from St. Leo University and has over 22 years of experience working with at-risk children and families in the child welfare system. She has a solid understanding of the Florida child welfare system. Her range of experience includes working for Community Based Care in various roles to include supervisory and quality management along with, child protective investigations with the Florida Department of Children and Families. She has extensive experience engaging and creating connections with community stakeholders on the behalf of children and families in need. In addition, she has over 13 years of management experience. During the last 11 years she has directed the development of the Kinship Program along with the Family Resource Centers in Marion, Lake and Sumter Counties. In this role, she has been instrumental in the expansion and development of both programs, elevating the services provided in each program along with assisting them in gaining COA certification.


AVailable on:
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Episode Description

This episode explores the Kinship Caregiving and Kinship Navigator Programs. Michelle Mongeluzzo and Dr. Anna Yelick discuss the Kinship Navigator Program at Kids Central, Inc., a community-based care lead agency in Florida and the evaluative work the Florida Institute for Child Welfare has been contracted to complete. Hear the guests discuss the importance of collaboration in this type of research work, specifically, the buy-in needed from the agency-level and the support the research team needs from agency leadership.

"Having a strong connection between both entities, the research team and the leadership team, you can really have those conversations and really get at the best approach to the evaluation so that everybody is feeling confident in moving forward." —Yelick


Podcast Archive

Episodes from past podcast seasons are available!
Click below to access links to the episodes, guest profiles, resources, and transcripts.

Season 1    |    Season 2

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