Deborah O'Flaherty

Experienced Child Welfare Professional

Deborah O'Flaherty: The Enjoyment of Volunteering

Deborah O’Flaherty wouldn’t trade the time she spent volunteering for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County organization for anything in the world, nor will she ever forget the opportunity she enjoyed to mentor and cultivate a lasting friendship with the young girl she worked with throughout her Big Sister experience. The chance to help shape a young person’s future, and to provide guidance and direction in their life, was perhaps one of the most fulfilling experiences of O’Flaherty’s life, one that will remain with her for the rest of her life.

The one-to one mentoring model employed by the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization has proven an effective and highly rewarding way to mentor, empower and inspire a child to pursue and achieve their dreams. Through the one-on-one mentoring process, one that included involvement in a variety of interactive activities, events and learning moments, Deborah O’Flaherty was able to make a big impact in the young girl’s life, and to guide her towards her true potential.

Just a few hours a month, as Deborah O’Flaherty knows, can have an amazing impact on a child’s life, and can lead to truly incredible experiences and adventures that will remain with both the child and the mentor for the rest of their lives. O’Flaherty and the child she mentored continue to be in touch to this day, and to play just as important a role in each other’s lives as the time spent within the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

Deborah O'Flaherty: Pursuing a Permanent, Stable and Safe Home for Florida Children

Deborah O’Flaherty is a longtime and dedicated member of Florida’s Child Welfare Community, and has committed herself to the pursuit of a safe, stable and permanent home for all at-risk and in need children throughout the state. As a Child Protective Investigator Supervisor, O’Flaherty works diligently to take a family-centered, safety-focused and well-informed approach to child welfare, one outlined by Florida’s Child Welfare Practice Model and employed by child welfare personnel throughout the state.

The vision of the state’s Practice Model, as Deborah O’Flaherty knows, is to provide every child a secure, safe and stable permanent home, one achieved through strong community connections and the nurturing of both partnerships and relationships. In pursuit of this vision, Florida’s child welfare professionals strive to accomplish the following goals:

Each professional child welfare worker, including Deborah O’Flaherty, strives to ensure children have the opportunity to enjoy secure and long-term relationships with both strong family units and their local communities.

Child welfare professionals work towards providing every child a life from abuse, neglect and abandonment.

Professionals strive to make sure the state’s children are socially competent, as well as physically and emotionally healthy. They also work towards ensuring that families are doing their best to protect, nurture and meet the needs of children in their care.

O’Flaherty looks forward to any opportunity to protect children from maltreatment and potential harm, and to work towards building stronger and healthier families that maintain a healthy and nurturing environment for their children throughout the course of their young lives.

Deborah O'Flaherty - Reporting Child Abuse in Florida

As Child Protective Services Worker and Child Protective Investigator Supervisor Deborah O’Flaherty knows, there is never an excuse for abusing, abandoning or neglecting a child; that every child is in a particularly vulnerable situation, and deserves to be in the care of a person or people who work to protect their safety and welfare at all times.

Florida law, as O’Flaherty knows, makes it a requirement for any individual who is aware of, or has reasonable cause to suspect, that child abuse, abandonment or neglect is going on, to report that knowledge or suspicion to the state as soon as possible.

As a child protective worker and part of the Child Protective Investigative Services program, Deborah O’Flaherty understands the need for people to take action when they become aware of ongoing abuse, regardless if that abuse is coming from a parent, a legal custodian or any other person that is responsible for a child’s welfare at the time.

As of October 1, 2012, the state of Florida now requires anyone with knowledge or reasonable cause of such abuse to step forward and report it to the Florida Child Abuse Hotline, now reached at 1-800-962-8273 (1-800-96-ABUSE).

A member of the Child Protective Investigations Section, Deborah O’Flaherty works alongside local law enforcement and social service agencies to investigate situations where abuse, abandonment or neglect is purported to exist, and to make an accurate and thorough assessment of each situation in order to come up with the best possible outcomes and beneficial solutions possible.

O’Flaherty believes strongly in what she does and who she does it for, and strives to be a positive and enduring resource of help and protection to an often incredibly vulnerable and in-need population.

Dedicated, Deborah O’Flaherty

Many people are dedicated to one thing or another. Some people are quite dedicated to leisurely activities, others are extremely dedicated to their work and success. There are many people that lies somewhere in between or devote themselves to success and leisure at the same time.

Child welfare services professional Deborah O’Flaherty has been in the field of child welfare for many years and she has dedicated herself with an unending focus on executing her duties on behalf of families throughout the Broward County area. Many children fall under these types of situations that she countered and she is called upon to make a difference in the life of a neglected or abused child. As a worker that intervenes on behalf of these at risk children, she is asked come up with an answer for dangerous situations and provide an accurate assessment of child safety and their well-being. There are many visits that constitute the assessment that she delivers and they consist of numerous visits that gauge the situation appropriate. The idea is a line the best strategy and services to help rectify situations that are affecting each child’s welfare. Sometimes this means intervening with counseling, other times it may include foster home placement or some type of assistance to help the family situation. There are many ways to approach these circumstances with the correct remedy to help make a change in these people’s lives. The idea is to get these children to a better place as soon as possible whether that means improving their situations in their own home or putting them at least temporarily in a separate home until the conditions improve and their home is a better place to live and again.

Deborah O’Flaherty, the Center of Broward County

Broward County in southern Florida is a large municipality that encompasses a number of economically challenged areas where sometimes families are forced to settle in. Child Protection Investigations Supervisor Deborah O’Flaherty works in the Sheriff’s office of Broward County and she deals with cases where there has been child neglect or child abuse and has been doing so for many years. Her exemplary work through some of the most difficult cases in the history of the county are a shining beacon of dedication to public service. Behind this unending dedication and commitment to the children of the county is a notion that the heart and center of Broward County are the children. Like Whitney Houston said in a famous song, she believes that children are the future, teach them well and let them lead the way. A big part of that is obviously what their home life is like and if the children are neglected or abused then that is an unfavorable situation that requires intervention. Sometimes the work is very difficult and can at least temporarily break families apart, but that is an extreme act that is only ever enacted when the situation truly calls for. Many times through her leadership and experience, they are able to encounter a number of programs that can help families work out their issues as soon as possible. Sometimes it is a combination of things including temporary placement of the children in foster homes in addition to some type of work with their home situation. At the end of the day the focus is to ensure the safety of the children and with that in mind she can come up with the best plan possible.