Carolanne Patriaco founded Families First of Florida on July 26, 2000 after recognizing a growing need for children’s mental health services in the Tampa area. Her commitment to helping children with mental and behavioral challenges stems from years of working with Florida’s Child Welfare System of Care.
Carolanne’s goal for Families First of Florida is to break down the negative stigmas that surround mental and behavioral challenges by providing children with the coping mechanisms necessary to work through trauma and allow them to have a happy and successful life. She also aims to help the families by providing parenting skills necessary to create a supportive environment to help their children foster a brighter future as well as linking the families to services within in their community.
Prior to founding Families First of Florida, Carolanne Patriaco served as Chief Financial Officer and later as Vice President of Operations and Fiscal Management for a provider of children’s foster care services in Florida. During this time she was introduced to the foster care system and the services it provides for at-risk children and children of neglect or abuse. She learned the intricacies of the system, and the necessity of counseling services for these foster families and children in order to create a solid foundation for a productive future. This discovery is what lead Carolanne to found Families First of Florida – to ensure that these children and families who have experienced trauma receive the help and counseling services they so desperately need.
Prior to her experience with Florida’s Child Welfare System of Care, Carolanne Patriaco worked as Senior Accountant of W.R. Grace and Co.'s Subsidiary, National Medical Care, Inc. and as an accountant at The Saving Bank of Rockland County. She earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting and Business Administration from Dominican College of Blauvelt, NY.
After receiving her BSW, she began her career supervising therapeutic foster homes and the children in those homes. She then moved on to working within the child welfare system for several years as both a Child Protective Investigator and Child Welfare Case Manager. With her knowledge, she was able to move into positions which allowed her to have oversight of Children’s Mental Health programs to ensure compliance with state contracts, Medicaid guidelines, and state and federal laws. After doing this for several years, Jennifer became the Director of License Care for a Community Base Care and was responsible for the placement, care, and mental health of the children removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect. Jennifer has served at a management level in Quality Management for several agencies both within Florida and Colorado at improving the quality of care for families and children. Jennifer brings over 20 years of experience with her to Families First of Florida and works at ensuring FFF meets the highest standards in meeting our client’s needs.
Katrina brings to Families First over 15 years of experience working with families and youth in the child welfare system. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Florida where she attained a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Development. She also holds a Master’s degree in Counseling and Psychology from Troy University. Katrina is responsible for the management and oversight of the Specialized Therapeutic Foster Care (STFC) clinical program and licensed therapeutic foster homes including, but not limited to: program development and management, policies and procedures, department monitoring, and contract compliance. She acts as a liaison to the CBC agency, DCF, and the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA)/ Medicaid. She is a Certified Child Protection Licensing Supervisor (The Florida Certification Board); a Certified MAPP & Professional Parenting Trainer (State of Florida); and a Certified County Mediator (Florida Supreme Court). Katrina has strong ties to the Tampa Bay community where she is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the Greater Tampa Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc.
Paula began her career working with various life and health insurance companies in Nebraska and Florida. She specialized working with several local Medicaid HMO’s licensed under the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). After 20-years of the insurance industry, she joined Families First in January 2001 as the Office Administrator. Over the last 12-years she has also acted as our Licensing Specialist , Program Services Administrator , Placement Services Administrator, and Director of Administration & HR Management and her current role is the Director of Administration and Facilities. She brings to Families First over 35 years of corporate experience.
As the Director of Human Resources, Sharon is responsible for the development and execution of all Human Capital related strategies, policies, and procedures for the organization. She partners with senior management to provide leadership and guidance on HR functions to include staffing, talent development and learning, compensation and benefits, employee relations, and HR services.
Sharon brings over twenty years of previous Human Resource Management experience in the fast-paced telecommunications and financial services industries. She has a track record of making positive changes in aligning Human Resources and Payroll with business goals, including recruiting and workforce planning, culture development, performance management, leadership development, change management, retention and succession planning, HR project management, and HR analytics.
Sharon graduated summa cum laude from Colorado Technical Institute with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resource Management. She is Certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources. She is a national and local member of the Society for Human Resource Management.
Lynn Stone is the Finance Director at Families First of Florida. She brings a tremendous level of experience and expertise with over 20 years in contact and finance management. 14 years of which has been spent with the child welfare industry.
Lynn has a Master of Business Administration. She excels at budget management and is always maximizes revenues and minimizes costs, one of her specialties.
She serves on the executive committee as the Secretary for Personal Enrichment through Mental Health Services (PEMHS). She is consistently ranked in the top 3% among peers in every job. She is very passionate in assisting children and families that are in need. Her reward has always been to see children and families gain successful outcomes.
Lynn has lived in Florida since 1979 and she speaks English and 3 dialects in Chinese. She has expanded her personal education by traveling around the world. Over 50 countries to date. She is a big believer in strong family values, and constantly promotes good health and exercise. She enjoys doing volunteer work and seeks out involvement in local community programs.
As CBHA Program Director, Kristen is responsible for the oversight of the CBHA process within Families First of Florida, LLC. She is responsible for ensuring quality and compliance with Medicaid guidelines and acts as a liaison with Community Based Care agencies statewide. She partners with Human Resources to contract with new CBHA assessors. She also partners with the billing department to assist in resolving any billing matters.
Kristen has worked within the child welfare system in the state of Florida for 9 years and has worked with CBHAs for 7 years. She has experience completing audits with the Department of Children and Families in partnership with the Agency for Healthcare Administration. She has a history of working in partnership and as a liaison with several agencies and helping to develop agency relationships.
Kristen graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor of the Arts in English and Psychology and graduated from the University of South Florida with a Master of Social Work. She is a Registered Clinical Social Work Intern and working on attaining licensure in the area of Social Work.
Karen brings to Families First over 25 years of working with children and families with severe and persistent mental health problems and has a Master’s Degree in Social Work.
She began her career with the Department of Children and Families in their substance abuse and mental health office managing district mental health services. She has also acted as the Medicaid Utilization Manager auditing mental health and substance abuse agencies to confirm services are being rendered accordingly per Medicaid guidelines. She has served as Director of a therapeutic foster care agency with their outpatient treatment program and psychiatric services, ensuring all mental health program needs for the clients were being met. As the Central Regional Director for Families First of Florida she certifies program services are being provided appropriately to our clients as well as a provides therapy to children and families as an independent contractor
Karen has also fostered therapeutic children 9 years and adopted 2 special needs children. She is Adoption Competency trained the trainer and has also completed the trainings for Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Combined Parent-Child Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health.
In addition, Karen has also volunteered as a Guardian Ad Litem advocating for children. She is passionate about providing services to children and families so they can have the best chance at positive outcome.