USF Kinship Center Celebrates 10th Anniversary

TAMPA, Fla. (Aug. 13, 2008) – After ten years, the University of South Florida’s Florida Kinship Center in the USF School of Social Work is celebrating its innovative developments, many contributions to Florida's kinship children and families, and national recognition for leadership in the field, according to program director Anne Strozier, who helped establish the program with fellow social work professor Aaron Smith (now retired). The tenth anniversary celebration on Sept. 4 at 3 p.m. at the Embassy Suites Hotel (3705 Spectrum Blvd.) will take note of the program’s many accomplishments and provide a forum for presentation of the program’s first national award, the “Losos Prize for Excellence” for the center’s Kin as Teachers Program (KAT).

The Florida Kinship Center provides services for Floridian’s grandparents and other relatives who raise children whose parents are unable to do so. Services include emotional support, education, information and referral, advocacy, training and research.

“Most people are shocked to learn that there are more than 350,000 children in Florida being raised by their relatives, primarily grandparents, more than the number of children living in foster care,” said Strozier. “While children are more likely to succeed in relative care than in foster care, this is not necessarily an easy or seamless arrangement. The grandparents or other relatives often need help and that’s where we come in.”

The Kinship Center’s “Warmline” and Legal Hotline offer a human connection to personal support, information and even legal assistance over the telephone. Home and school-based education programs are available for pre-schoolers, elementary school aged children and their caretakers, some of which includes tutoring, mentoring, case management and counseling.

KAT, adapted from the Parents as Teachers Program (PAT), assesses vulnerable children in kinship families, many of whom suffer from learning disorders, poor academic performance, low self-esteem, depression and behavior problems, and provides appropriate educational and support services before the children enter the school system.

“Some of the children raised by relatives were born of drug addicted mothers and suffer the consequences of that drug addiction,” said Strozier. “The Florida Kinship Center provides social workers to conduct home visits, developmental screenings, tutoring, mentoring, and group meetings for kinship families in Hillsborough County.

“It is an honor to offer the services of our nationally renowned program, Kin as Teachers,” said Strozier. “Our rewards tend to come in the form of smiles and hugs, and knowing we’ve helped solve problems and empower families. At the same time, it is wonderful to get this national confirmation that we’re headed in the right direction.”

The KAT program coordinator, Danielle Klendworth, received the Losos Prize for Excellence in St. Louis in April at the PAT national conference. The organization’s president and CEO, Susan Stepleton will make the local presentation of the award at the September 4th anniversary reception.

For additional information, call: (800) 640-6444 or (813) 974-1328 or visit

The University of South Florida is among the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community-engaged public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. It is one of Florida's top three research universities. USF was awarded more than $300 million in research contracts and grants last year. The university offers 219 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The university has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 45,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.

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