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Mental Health Resource Center, Inc.

P. O. Box 19249, Jacksonville, Florida 32245-9249

Phone: (904) 743-1883 Fax: (904) 743-5109
TO: All MHRC and RBHS staff members
FROM: Robert Sommers, Ph.D.
President and CEO
DATE: June 29, 2016
SUBJECT: Child Welfare Services
It saddens me to inform you that, sometime between now and September 30th, MHRC will be
transitioning all of its child welfare programs to other agencies. We are currently working with
Family Support Services of North Florida (FSSNF) which funds these programs to develop a
transition plan. Although MHRC will be laying off its child welfare staff, it is expected that all, or
almost all, of these employees will obtain comparable positions with the other agencies, and will
even take their current caseloads with them to the new agencies, so that there will be no gap in
their employment and no disruption to services.
Why is this happening? About one month ago, FSSNF informed us that, for fiscal year 20162017, they would be reducing the funding to MHRC by approximately $564,000. We explained
to FSSNF that their action would jeopardize our child welfare services and we offered an
alternative plan to maintain the financial viability of these services, but this plan was not
accepted. When we prepared our child welfare department budget for next fiscal year, including
the revenue reduction of $564,000, we saw that this department would produce a substantial
financial loss, a loss that MHRC cannot afford. We notified FSSNF that we would need to either
provide a different array of services to maintain our child welfare department or we would need
to transition our current services to other agencies. FSSNF chose the transition path.
Therefore, we will be contracting with FSSNF to continue our child welfare services for the
period of July 1, 2016 through September 30, 2016, during which time, we will transition
services to other agencies chosen by FSSNF.
The MHRC child welfare program began in 2003 with 13 employees, and grew to 83 employees
currently. During the past 13 years, new, innovative services were added and our program
developed a reputation for excellence. For three years in a row 2012, 2013 and 2014 the
MHRC child welfare program was named by FSSNF as Case Management Organization of the
Year. These accomplishments were the result of the diligent, dedicated work performed by our
child welfare staff members.
In closing, I want to especially recognize and thank Debbie ONeal, Vice President-Community
Support Services, who built the child welfare program from the ground up, and who exercised
superb judgment in recruiting Gwen Tennant-Evans to be Director of the program. Gwen and
our child welfare supervisors Lindsey Hackford, Emily Foltz-Holland, Jennifer Wirz, Ashlea
Wesley, Marka Kyle, Amy Travis, Stephanie Metzger, Lesley Ann Vickerie, Amber Savidge,
Brittany Humes-Cox, Precious Delancy, and Debra Coppola and all of our child welfare staff
have done a remarkable job helping and supporting children and families who are experiencing
difficult and stressful situations. They have provided services to many in need, and have
demonstrated compassion, commitment and professionalism. These employees have been
excellent representatives of MHRC in the Jacksonville community and we have been proud to
have them as part of our organization. We wish them continued success in all their future

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