26 February 2011

DCF, revisited

Let me preface this whole entry with a fact: I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican. That being said, I do lean more to the radical side of things in general, but not always. Yesterday was a perfect display of when I lean the other way...

A friend and I were headed to the SOBE Wine and Food Fest for a quick break and a wine tasting. We were headed to Ocean Drive, got to 8th St (roughly halfway there) and then hit a traffic nightmare. So we both agreed to head home: there was no way we were going to make it to the event before it was over. Once we turned around, we realized it was divine intervention.

We got a call from the Atala office saying that DCF was there to survey. Anytime DCF shows up you get a knot of frustration in your stomach, but this didn't make sense since we had already had our licensing officer measure everything. We were glad that we had made the decision to turn around, as we would arrive back on campus in time to speak with the rep. Several nerve-wracking phone calls went back and forth, but we prepared when arrived home.

When we arrived back, Beatriz was in the office with our DCF visitor. This DCF guy was having her complete a survey (they were measuring, but not our playground!) about the health and nutrition of our children. There were three questions she had waited to complete: 1) are you interested in participating in the government program for health and nutrition, 2) are you interested in having technical advice on health and nutrition, and 3) are you interested in receiving information on health and nutrition. When I questioned our "guest" about whether these were free programs, he said yes. But when I questioned him about where did it say that these were free programs and if we were obligating ourselves to participating in the program, he said it was in the literature he was leaving. Then I pointed out that neither of us had read the literature, so we were both uncomfortable signing anything.

Then the real fun began. First the DCF officer tells us about a little 2-year-old girl who was 300 pounds because her mother didn't know what to feed her. Then he starts using the word "abuse" in the same sentence. So I put two and two together and asked, "Are you telling me that if a parent of one of our school children sends a peanut butter and jelly sandwich everyday of the year because that's what he child eats, we are going to have to call and report that as child abuse?!" He answered, "Yes, that's not healthy" and again recounts the 300 pound 2 year old story.

The DCF officer then goes on to say, "We license you (as he points to the license hanging on our wall), and we want to work with you to educate you about the issues that are important to Mrs. Michelle Obama, who is going to be at the University of Miami meeting with DCF next week." So this not-so veiled threat to pull our licensing is all in the name of Michelle Obama?! Just on the off chance that Big Brother is reading all the blogs out there, let me just say to Mrs. Obama that DCF in Florida is one of the most shabbily run, disorganized, and corrupt government agencies with which I have ever come in contact. And you are thinking of putting them in charge of our children's health?! I implore you to rethink this decision. While I have no doubt that the 2-year-old our DCF visitor spoke of really existed, this is an extreme case. Kids are kids. One of my kids went a whole year eating nothing but nuggets--as long as we said it was a nugget, it was eaten. So we had chicken nuggets, fish nuggets, hamburger nuggets, whatever it was we called it a "nugget."

Whatever ridiculous DCF officer is going to try to monitor (and I still don't know if this was going to be free, but I'm guessing the school was going to get socked with some extra fees to cover the costs of monitoring everyone's lunch boxes), I guarantee you he or she doesn't know squat about children. Let's look at all the recent and not-so-recent news coverage about DCF in Miami-Dade County alone. Kids are getting lost in the system, dying at the hands of adults that DCF deemed fit to watch over children. And now you're giving them more power to screw up.

Did you know that there are 6 counties in the State of Florida who refuse to abide by the rules of DCF? I'd like to mount a campaign to have Miami-Dade county added to that list! I do not believe big government can help this situation at all. Requiring us to monitor the lunch boxes of our families and then reporting back to a government agency is just bologna (and not fat free)!

14 February 2011



Ready for a long weekend. We're headed to Disney, which sounds like it would be exhausting, too, but sometimes you just need a change of pace.

Valentine's Day was awesome! The kids all had fun activities throughout the day. We had a chocolate fest in the office for all the staff.

Found out some interesting news today via the Homestead grapevine.

Bedtime is just around the corner. Sleep...and don't forget to Spread your wings!

11 February 2011


So tired...everyone's working long hours, but they are certainly paying off. We have enrolled 6 new students in five weeks and are well underway with our recruiting efforts for next year. We are at 80% of our target and will definitely exceed that by the end of the school year in May.

Other news, totally awesome that Value Place Lodging and Homestead Main Street are hosting an awareness event for us. Everything is covered--food, sound system, etc. They are even going to have the Golden Knights (akin to the Blue Angels, but for the Army) in full dress with parachutes. Should be beautiful!

Then we all get to march in a kazoo band down Krome Ave. on March 5 for a family-friendly Mardi Gras parade. Again, should be lots of fun for all of us!

Spread your wings!