November is National Adoption Month—an annual campaign sponsored by the Children’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to encourage communities to support the thousands of children across the country in need of permanent families. Across Florida, hundreds of the state’s foster children will have their adoptions finalized in November. Governor Scott and the Florida Department of Children and Families join with partners at the Florida Coalition for Children and its member agencies in celebrations across Florida with children and foster parents on these very special occasions creating “forever families.”
Through a unique partnership with the Florida Coalition for Children, CSK will join with its child welfare agency clients in the month-long celebration by offering its statewide team of attorneys to assist with the upcoming adoption finalization on a pro bono basis. As Florida’s leading law firm defending the front-line organizations and professionals that care for Florida’s foster children, CSK will help kids that have been waiting months, and in some cases, years, to have their "forever family" day this November.
“Offering our expertise and lawyers
to Florida foster families is the least we can do. If our small efforts help kids have their forever family then we all win,” said Richard Cole, the firm’s founder and managing partner. “Our foster care agency clients work with us during some of the toughest times in their professional lives. The National Adoption Day initiative gives us a chance to be there to help the foster care industry on their best day of the year too. Our lawyers are thrilled to be involved,” Cole added.
This CSK initiative is being spearheaded by CSK’s newest partner,
Frances “Fran” Allegra
, one of Florida’s instrumental voices with the legal issues facing the foster care agencies and charter schools. Ms. Allegra served as the CEO of the lead foster care agency for Miami-Dade and Monroe counties for 10 years and oversaw its $100M annual budget. More recently, she was the founding president of the SEED School of Miami, Florida’s only college preparatory, urban, public boarding school. Working alongside state and national child welfare leaders, Ms. Allegra has been instrumental in the success of Florida's innovative and groundbreaking approach to child protection. By joining CSK, Ms. Allegra continues her work and dedication by defending the nonprofit organizations on the front lines of Florida's child welfare. Ms. Allegra is an experienced litigator who has tried cases and established herself as a reputable lawyer in our community before leaving private practice to be the CEO of Florida’s largest foster care agencies.
Ms. Allegra has received numerous honors and awards, including the Angel in Adoption Award from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute in Washington, DC. During her tenure as CEO of Our Kids, she led the organization’s efforts in creating groundbreaking statewide legislative changes in the Florida child welfare system. As a result, then–Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio included Our Kids in his book
100 Innovative Ideas for Florida’s Future.
Ms. Allegra was tapped by Governor-Elect Rick Scott to serve on the Children and Families Subcommittee of the Health and Human Services transition team. Ms. Allegra is also a member of Leadership Florida.