Cozy Coffee Cafe and the History of the Cuban

Welcome To Cozy Coffee Cafe!

Cozy Coffee Cafe is small family owned business owned and operated by husband and wife team Casey and Matina Schoonover. They are striving to be the best they can be and to put chain coffee shops to shame with great coffee, great atmosphere and great friendly customer service. Consistency is what sets Cozy Coffee Cafe apart from the rest. You will get the same exact great tasting drinks and food time and time again. They opened right at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, with that being said, they are here and are open and we will continue to do everything they can to make your visit safe and enjoyable.

Community is very important. They have participated in many events such as Free Live Music Drive in Concerts with curb side delivery. Back Pack and school supply drive For Coaches Mentoring Through Basketball. Back The Blue Car Show to help raise money for The Blue Line Bears Foundation. An Angel Tree for the Teen Foster Kids at National Youth Advocate Program for teens ages 11-17.

In November of 2020 Cozy Coffee Cafe took part in the 2nd Annual Latino Food Festival and the 9th Annual Ford Cuban Sandwich Festival. They took 1st place in World Best Tampa Historic Cuban Sandwich and 3rd Place for Traditional Cuban Sandwich. Quite an accomplishment they are proud of!!

Cozy Coffee Café LLC.  - Casey & Matina Schoonover

Phone: (813) 373-5207 - 13312 Telecom Drive, Temple Terrace, FL 33637

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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History Of The Cuban Sandwich!

There are some tales that the first Cuban sandwich was made more than 500 years ago the by Taíno tribe in Cuba, that inhabited the island before Europeans arrived. Apparently, the Taínos used casabe bread, made from yucca, to make the dish. Cassava (aka Casabe) Bread is a flatbread, that’s as hard and thin as a cracker, made from cassava flour. Instead of pork which was unavailable at the time the tribe would use fish and bird meat inside the center of two slices of casabe.

When the Spaniards eventually arrived on the island, meats such as pork and ham were quickly introduced into the native’s diets. Casabe was substituted for a bread-like alternative also. So traces of the sandwich originate back from the original islanders, but it was really only the beginnings of a sandwich once the Spanish arrived with dough and pork.

Fast forward to the late 1800s and early 1900s, when travel between Cuba and Florida was easy, especially from Key West and Tampa, and Cubans frequently sailed back and forth for employment in cigar factories. Because of this constant and largely undocumented movement of people, culture and ideas, it is really quite impossible to say exactly when or where the Cuban sandwich that we know today originated. But it is thought that the sandwich was a common lunch food for workers in both the cigar factories and sugar mills of Cuba and once they relocated to a similar occupation in America the Cubans were seeking a similar lunch food.

As they started to add other popular ingredients of other migrant workers in the factories – mainly Italian, German and Spanish you start to see how the current Cuban sandwich was formed. In Tampa the addition of Salami comes from the Italian influences and Mustard was possibly introduced by the Germans as an ideal condiment that didn’t spoil in the Florida heat.

The first recorded mentions of a distinct Cuban sandwich come from descriptions of workers’ cafés in Ybor City and West Tampa from around 1900. It was during Fidel Castro’s rise to power in 1959 that a real wave of Cuban immigrants started settling in Miami and bringing with them their culture and cuisine that we see the beginnings of the Cuban sandwich in Miami, which certainly put Cuban sandwiches on the world map.

There is another solid claim to origin that Tampa has – the Cuban bread. This is actually something that was invented in Tampa at La Joven Francesca bakery. Established in 1896 by the Sicilian-born Francisco Ferlita who was a Cuban-Spanish-Italian immigrant, it’s said that he created this particular style of bread. It sold for 3-5 cents a loaf and in Ybor City, Tampa. Bread (like milk) used to be delivered every morning. Houses actually had a sturdy nail driven into the doorframe next to the door on which deliveryman would impale the fresh loaf of bread.

So it has been a traditional form of bread in Tampa for a long time and right around the time of the first documented sightings of the Cuban sandwich.

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A "Big" Can Do A "Little" Good-BBBS

Big Brothers Big Sisters

A "Big" Can Do A "Little" Good

The Journey To Change Starts With You!

By Gary S. Hatrick

For many, the experience of COVID-19 brought an aloneness that they had never experienced. The desire for human contact and sometimes just for someone to whom to talk – knowing that there is someone there.

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Dairy & Gluten - What Are They Doing To Your Body?

Dairy and Gluten

Dairy & Gluten - What Are They Doing To Your Body?

By Maria Scunziano-Singh, MD, NMD

Food is medicine. The food we eat impacts our health, and it can also affect how we feel. And, while many people consider milk, cheese, bread, and pasta to be staples in their diet, what does their consumption do to your body?

When you think of milk, what comes to mind? Do you picture Bessie the cow standing out in the field with her innocent face on just waiting to be milked lovingly by a farmer so that you have a nice glass of ice-cold milk, creamy ice cream, or rich, melty cheese on a burger?

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Not Just A Survivor, But A Thriver In Life

Pretty Lovely You

Not Just A Survivor, But A Thriver In Life

Denise Peske is not just a survivor of Breast Implant Illness, but a thriver in life.

For over 13 years, Denise suffered from debilitating pain and unexplainable illnesses until she discovered the source was her breast implants. She had been so ill for many years that she decided her health was more important than her breast size. She didn’t think twice and had the implants removed on April 9, 2019. Her health has been improving ever since.

The catalyst of the problem was the lack of self-confidence and poor self-body image she carried. A reflection of what so many women experience. Her journey to wellness was that of learning lessons and helping others. She decided she needed to not just advocate about the health risks with implants, but help other girls and women with the same body image struggles she did. 

Denise received the Butterfly Award through ALPHA House of Pinellas based on her journey to health where they stated “In Denise we see the confidence, intent and intensity of a person who feels blessed to have a second chance – a person who sees their second chance as a path and mandate to make the world better.” 

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Changing Lives, One Foot At A Time-Freedom Walk Foundation

Freedom to Walk Foundation

Changing Lives, One Foot At A Time

Imagine having one foot that weighs 

50 pounds. What would life be like?

By Gary S. Hatrick

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Understanding Breast Cancer and How to Manage Your Chances of Getting It 

Understanding Breast Cancer

Understanding Breast Cancer and How to Manage Your Chances of Getting It 

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s a time to raise awareness about the importance of detecting breast cancer early, when it’s easier to treat. Aside from skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States. The statistics you’ll find throughout this article are hard to ignore, starting with these: 

  • About 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. 
  • 1 in 39 women (3 percent) will die from breast cancer
  • In 2020, it's estimated that about 30 percent of newly diagnosed cancers in women will be breast cancers. 
  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women between ages 55 and 64.
  • About 10 percent of breast cancers occur in women younger than 45.


Breasts are made up of a variety of different tissues, including ducts, lobes, and glands that produce milk and carry it to the nipple. Breasts also contain lymph nodes and fatty tissue. Cancer develops when the cells in the breast mutate and grow out of control. These cells create a tumor. About 80 percent of breast cancers form in the milk ducts. These are called ductal carcinomas. Other breast cancers develop in the glands of lobes that produce milk. These are lobular carcinomas. 

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer?

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Caring for the Family Car


Caring for the Family Car

By Jet Hall


When I met with Marty LaBarbera, owner of Christian Brothers Automotive, I was a little apprehensive talking to an auto repair shop. Based on my own experience, as of many others I’m sure, I have always felt intimidated about repairs on my vehicle. Mostly because all I know is how to put the key in the ignition and turn and start the car. Other than paying attention to the red maintenance light that pops on and gives me “stress” that the car is ready to die, that’s about it. No, I don’t know how to change the oil, change a tire, etc. I always felt that it was the “man’s” job to take care of the car. Well, things have changed. The stone-age is gone, independence has taken over. Although I do know how to check my oil and fluids, my knowledge of cars stops there.

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Throwing the Book and a Hook at Breast Cancer

Throwing the Book and a Hook at Breast Cancer

Life is full of surprises

By Gary S. Hatrick

Paula S. O'Neil, 63, has been a public servant for nearly four decades.

The St. Louis native came to Pasco County in 1987 with seven years of public service already under her belt. Her retirement in 2019 after three terms as Pasco County Clerk and Comptroller was the culmination of 39 years of such service known for honesty, hard work and community involvement.

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Divorce On The Horizon? Here is what NOT to do!

Divorce On The Horizon?  About to go through a divorce? Here is what NOT to do!

By Hayley Botha, Founder & CEO
Emerge StrongTM Divorce Coaching Services

If you know a divorce is on the horizon for you and your spouse, it is of the utmost importance to know what not to do from this point forward. 

Your soon-to-be ex-spouse is wearing you down.  You are tired of the arguing and possibly at the point where you will do anything to just keep the peace. "Please sign these papers," he/she asks. You would be surprised how many people would just sign papers put in front of them. When you know the marriage is over, there are things you must do to protect yourself from being financially burned.  With this in mind here is a list of things you should not do if you want to have a successful outcome in your divorce case. 

  • Whatever you do, DO NOT sign anything just before you have filed a petition for dissolution. You would be surprised how many people will sign a document just to stop arguing with their spouse.  
  • Show all documents you have been asked to sign to your attorney. This is what you are paying for, your attorney should review everything before you sign any document. 
  • Do not lie to your attorney, ever!
  • Do not dispose of assets that you know your spouse will request.
  • You may have joint bank accounts; however, I would recommend you do not “empty them” since your spouse is most likely entitled to half the funds. Again, speak with your attorney to confirm you may take your half of the funds in joint accounts.  
  • Unfortunately, many people try their best to “get even” with their spouse by incurring debt in their name. This is just stupid and will only make things worse for yourself. Don't be surprised if you end up legally responsible for those debts if it is proven this was not done without your spouses’ consent. 
  • If you cash a tax refund check which most likely belongs to your spouse, be prepared that a judge resolves it against you, and you must pay back your spouse.  
  • Do not ever discuss advice or strategy received from your attorney with other persons.  That destroys the attorney-client privilege and the attorney on the other side is free to obtain this type of information in discovery. 

Before you leave your home for the last time, please ask yourself if there is anything you wish to keep? If the answer is yes and taking it may cause a fight, you may have to leave it.  However, make sure you take an inventory of household items.  You need to be able to show what assets have been removed or destroyed.  If nothing else, walk through the house with a video camera and video everything there.  It will help you create a list of assets.

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M.O.M's Charity Celebrates Sixth Anniversary

M.O.M's Charity Celebrates Sixth Anniversary

M.O.M continues their six year mission to assist struggling families in Tampa Bay

By: Mothers of Minors Inc.

New Port Richey based non-profit, Mothers of Minors Community Outreach (M.O.M), is marking 6 years of serving single parent families in Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough and surrounding Counties.

M.O.M was founded in May 2014 by Andrea L. Clark, a single mom of four with a heart to help other struggling single moms.   The charity is focused on the empowerment of single mothers through community baby showers and by offering referrals to community resources that also assist with growing the self-sufficiency of families in the community.

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National Ice Cream Month - History of the Ice Cream Truck

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream…….

National Ice Cream Month is held in each year in July in the United States. Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month in 1984. He also named the third Sunday in July as National Ice Cream Day. Reagan recognized the popularity of ice cream in the United States (90% of the nation's population consumes ice cream) and stated that these two events should be observed with "appropriate ceremonies and activities."

Foods don't get much more coveted than a scoop or two of delicious ice cream on a hot day. Ice cream comes in scores of different flavors. Just ask Baskin Robbins®, which has long touted its own 31 flavors - a different flavor for every day of the month of July. Even though there seems to be a flavor for everybody these days, certain palate-pleasers remain more popular than others. According to an August 2019 survey conducted by ProdegeMR, a provider of people-driven insights for the market research industry, chocolate was consumers' preferred ice cream flavor in Canada, with 23 percent of survey respondents indicating it was their favorite. The International Dairy Foods Association indicates that Americans favor a different flavor of ice cream. In the United States, vanilla is the flavor of choice, perhaps because vanilla goes with everything and can enhance so many other desserts and treats. As popular as vanilla ice cream is, cookies and cream is being scooped up more and more, and is the most popular flavor in 14 different states.

The History of the Ice Cream Truck

On a sweltering day, few things bring relief as immediately as a favorite frozen treat. The United States leads the world in ice cream consumption, with an average of 26 liters per person consumed per year.

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Taking a Look at Fatherhood


Dads are often the first heroes in their young children's lives. Dads chase away ghosts in the closet, let their daughters dance on their toes and teach their sons how to win the heart of their first crush.

The first Father's Day a new dad spends with his growing family can be quite memorable, as celebrating one's fatherhood for the first time is a unique and special time. Spouses and other family members can go the extra mile to make this year that much more special for first-time fathers.

Let Dad sleep in. Chances are Dad is enamored with his little bundle of joy, but it's well-known that being a new father often means sacrificing sleep time - especially for the first several months to a year of that child's life. Enlist the help of a family member who can be on baby watch while Dad gets to sleep in on the weekend of his big day. With some extra sleep, Dad can enjoy Father's Day that much more.

Create a first-year memory book. Take the time to put together a scrapbook of the photos and moments baby and Dad have gotten to spend together. So much focus is often placed on a new baby and his or her mother that Dad may be left playing second fiddle. Make it clear that fathers are key to their children's development and happiness, too.

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CORONAVIRUS Sparks Worldwide Concern

CORONAVIRUS Sparks Worldwide Concern

The dawn of 2020 ushered in many newsworthy headlines, but few have turned the heads of the masses as sharply as the arrival of a novel coronavirus that was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. In late 2019, Chinese authorities identified the new virus, which has resulted in scores of confirmed cases in China, and additional cases identified in a growing number of international locations.

Both the World Health Organization and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have closely monitored the coronavirus, which was named COVID-19 in mid-February 2020. The public is understandably concerned, but educating oneself about COVID-19 and coronaviruses in general can assuage some fears.



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Earth Day

How Earth Day and Environmental Conciousness have Evolved

Reduce, reuse, recycle is a mantra for many people. It's difficult to imagine that just 50 years ago awareness of the state of the environment was not part of the collective consciousness.

An emerging public consciousness about the planet began amid environmental issues like increased air pollution and massive consumption of fossil fuels in the 1960s. The bestselling book "Silent Spring" by Rachel Carson also raised public concern for living organisms and the links between pollution and public health. The push for environmental reform gained even more momentum on April 22, 1970, when the first Earth Day was celebrated. Then-Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin put Earth Day on the national stage following a large oil spill that struck off the coast of Santa Barbara, Calif. Before this disaster, recycling was not a word in the popular lexicon. But when the disaster struck, people began to reason that changes would have to be made to save the planet.

Since the first Earth Day 50 years ago, many strides have been made in the environmental movement. This grassroots initiative gave rise to the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. Environmental awareness has become much more mainstream and is a less polarizing issue than it was in the 1970s, although there are still debates about the reality of climate change and other risk factors. Public demand for environmental safeguards grew in the second half of the twentieth century, and those demands have grown stronger in recent years. Legislation is continually evolving to protect the air, land and water. Sustainability has joined the buzzwords of the movement, and most industries now have a vested interest in changes that can minimize risk to human health and the environment.

Mitigating or avoiding environmental effects, proper waste disposal, reduction in water discharge, and emphasis on reducing, reusing and recycling have become important components of environmental wellness. And people are being educated at earlier stages on the importance of environmental mindfulness. For example, core subjects of the environmental movement are increasingly covered in elementary schools.

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Divorce? Different for Men & Women


How Men and Women Are Not the Same as They Go Through a Divorce


By Hayley Botha, Emerge StrongTM Divorce Coaching Services


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Women's History Month is March

Women’s History Month

By AJ Willingham, CNN

March is National Women's History Month, but since women are pretty historic year-round, it begs the question: Why March? Is this month significant to women's history, or is it just an arbitrary month on the calendar?

The answer involves a little bit of history and a little bit of coincidence.

Women's History Month, which is observed in the US, UK and Australia in March, and in October in Canada, began with a single day. International Women's Day is March 8, and it has been observed in some shape or form since 1911. It was officially commemorated by the United Nations in 1975 and was officially recognized by the UN two years later.

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Guardian ad Litem - Bloody Screams for Advocacy

Dedicated to Judge Mike AndrewsBy Simon E. Bois, Florida Night TrainScreams of fear from my mom and brutal glass shattering noise was what woke me in the middle of a cold night. Walking half asleep into the kitchen, walls covered with my mom’s blood, I saw my mother crouched in a corner. Dad hovering over her tiny frame was about to strike again. That is when I launched my little 7-year-old body with all my might in her defense screaming at my dad challenging him to stop. His then ice-cold gaze in my direction seized me with absolute terror. In the end, I went to bed pretty bruised-up that night, but mom was left alone. On another occasion, I was reading quietly in the back seat of the family car one Sunday afternoon on our weekly family drive. The noise from their constant arguing kept escalating in volume but that did not bother me. It was pretty common for them to get loud. That is until blood suddenly splattered in my face and all over my comic book from a single blow to my mom courtesy of a man who I was supposed to call dad. She was bleeding profusely with a broken nose.As a volunteer Guardian Ad Litem, I can tell you these two incidents while difficult to relive are a glimpse into some of the things that happen day in and day out in the communities we serve. About five years ago sitting quietly with guests at my house around the fire pit while my three children slept, these memories were triggered again with screams of terror from a nearby neighbor. That is when I decided following a previous discussion with a dear friend that I would never sit idle again not doing my part to help. Just like I did for my mom back then.In Florida, there are more than 19,000 children in out-of-home placements as of Jan. 15, 2020. Such numbers make finding good homes for at-risk children a challenge. That's part of why we at the Guardian ad Litem Program – who advocate in court for abused, abandoned, and neglected children – need your support.It’s in every citizen's interest to step up, and here’s why: There are more than 400,000 American children in foster care. Their average length of stay is 25.3 months, according to the Ackerman Institute for the Family – and they have rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) similar to veterans of war. What's more, children who age out of foster care without a family are four times likelier to enter the criminal justice system as adults and 17 times likelier to be homeless by the age of 21. One way to help is volunteering as a Guardian ad Litem. Children with an advocate are twice as likely to be adopted as those without – and they stay in foster care for shorter periods of time.You can also donate to non-profits that support children in foster care with everything from school supplies to scholarships. We have non-profit partners in each judicial circuit, helping local children served by the Guardian ad Litem Program. •To learn more about Guardian ad Litem or to volunteer, visit or call 1-866-341-1GAL.•Explore adoption: A joint effort by the Governor’s Office of Adoption and Child Welfare and the Florida Department of Children and Families at•For adoption support within the state of Florida, contact the Florida Foster and Adoptive Parent Association at •The North American Council on Adoptable Children at offers a free webinar on adoption benefits assistance. But while not everyone can take in a child – or be a Guardian ad Litem representing one in court – everyone can help reduce the number of underserved and often neglected children without families. •Thanks to social media, groups all over Florida support foster parents. The statewide Foster Florida is at, and they post families' specific needs.•Make dinner for a foster family, buy them a gift card, or baby-sit to give caregiver(s) a break.•Bikers Against Child Abuse, Florida Chapter, at are some of Guardian ad Litem Program's Major Accomplishments for Fiscal Year 2018- 2019:• 38,997 total children represented • 10,000+ citizens who volunteered as GALs • 508 pro bono attorneys donated legal services • GAL’s “Defending Best Interests Project” collected more than 4,600 hours of donated legal services to defend the best interests of children -- $1.3 million worth. • A partnership with the Florida Association of Women Lawyers, “FAWL in Love with GAL,” connects teenage girls with lawyers who mentor them and provide positive role models. Our new “Total Engagement” program establishes a one-stop shop for law firms and attorneys to find pro bono projects to support the children and families we represent.• The Program has public-private partnerships donating critical resources to the children we represent, including the National Court Appointed Special Advocates Association, Sunshine Health and the Akerman Law Firm.• In addition to consistent assistance from county governments, the Program is supported by 20 not-for-profits, one in each judicial circuit. They provide resources from meeting the needs of individual children (e.g., school clothes, MRIs, camps), to funding positions, organizing GAL volunteer recognition events and helping recruit foster parents. GAL works to improve the quality of representation for children, including: • Creating a certification program for our Child Advocate Managers in collaboration with the Florida Certification Board to enhance representation with professional credentialing. • Facilitating Board Certification with The Florida Bar for our attorneys, who represent over 10% of all Florida attorneys who are Board Certified in Juvenile Law.• Our training curriculum, the “I am for the Child Academy,” is web-based and publicized to everyone in the dependency community at no cost. The Academy has thousands of registered users and offers not only basic dependency training, but webinars on more complex child welfare issues and free CLE trainings for lawyers. • At the direction of Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis, GAL Executive Director Alan Abramowitz is chairing a subcommittee of the Children and Youth Cabinet aimed at reducing youth suicide, with a focus on mentoring as a key strategy.• Since volunteers are such a critical part of our advocacy, we also are partnering with Volunteer Florida to reach more people who want to help abused and neglected children.Mariela Ollsen who like us all is an avid motorcycle enthusiast has been the Circuit Director for the Sixth Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program for three years. Previously, she worked for the program as a Child's Best Interest Attorney.Mariela says the issues faced by children and youth are very close to her heart. "These kids are going to be the future, but kids in the child welfare system often lose hope. But I think the consistency and encouragement provided by our volunteers can restore that hope." As the Circuit Director, Mariela oversees four Guardian ad Litem offices in Pasco and Pinellas counties, with more than 900 certified volunteers. The Sixth Circuit GAL program faces many challenges, with 3,344 children in the dependency system as of November 2019; of these, our volunteers were appointed to represent roughly 1,848 children. We love our volunteers and need more. That said I must say after years volunteering as a Guardian, it has not been easy but the rewards of knowing I am helping to make a child and possibly a parent safer by far surpass anything I can think of. I believe the sentiment is true and one we should all stand by and that is simply to leave no child behind. Please consider this my invitation to join me to protect children.Isaiah 1:17 17 Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.ABOUT “NIGHT TRAIN”Night Train has been published since year 2000 in both Canada as well as USA featuring columns about lifestyles and celebrities such as Ted Nugent, Bill Davidson Jr. (Harley Davidson), Danica Patrick, Jesse James (West Coast Choppers), Paul Teutul Sr. (Orange County Choppers), Billy Lane (Choppers Inc.), Paul Cox (Indian Larry), Mondo (Denvers Choppers) etc… HOG Magazine, Born to Ride Magazine and Full Throttle Magazine, and now Florida Women Magazine are a few of the publications Night Train was published in.Night Train invites you to connect on Night Train also reproduces and creates fine art using metals Night Train is also proud father of three children; Trinity, Jade and Eric.

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Foster Care - A Looming Crisis

Foster Care is a temporary living situation for children whose parents are unable, unwilling, or unfit to care for them and whose need for care has come to the attention of child welfare agency staff. It is meant to be a temporary out-of-home care, though the length of time children spend in care can vary drastically and children can suffer serious harm as a result. Some will be separated from their siblings. Others will be bounced from one foster care placement to another, never knowing when their lives will be uprooted next. Too many will be further abused in systems that are supposed to protect them. And instead of being safely reunified with their families — or moved quickly into adoptive homes — many will languish for years in foster homes or institutions.Adoption is not the plan for every child in foster care. A network of professionals—which includes social workers, therapists, judges, guardians ad litem, and more—will work together with a child and his or her family to determine an appropriate case plan goal. For 58% of the children in care, that case plan goal is to reunify them with their biological parents or place them in the care of a relative. But for 26% of cases, parental rights have been terminated for one reason or another and the end goal is for the child to be adopted by a new family.Florida welfare officials and child advocates expect a surge of children to flood the already strained state system. Neglect and child drug abuse cases have both grown by 3% in the past year. Many state officials say the surge of children entering foster care is a direct result of the ever-increasing drug epidemic.Children being removed for parental drug use were more likely to be 5 years old or younger than children removed for other reasons. And the proportion of drug-directed cases involving white, Midwestern and non-urban children increased.While the surge of drug-related foster care entries has coincided with the rise of the opioid epidemic, increased opioid use is only one possible explanation for the trend. Other potential explanations include changes in policies that increase child removal. Following more than a decade of mostly decline, U.S. foster care cases started increasing again in 2012. Between 2012 and 2017, the number of children entering foster care increased by 8% overall.April Dirks, an associate professor of social work at Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, says she has seen the recent increase firsthand. Opioid and methamphetamine use have damaged communities. A former child welfare worker herself, she now instructs her students on how to manage and help families with parents suffering from drug addiction.Dirks believes the best way to address the potential increase of parents who use drugs is to combine foster care with family drug courts, specialized programs that provide supervised treatment instead of incarceration for people with substance use or mental health issues. These courts can provide parents with the support they need to recover from their addiction and regain custody of their children. "If they're going to remove the children, the best thing [to do] would be immediately treating the parent," she says.There are approximately 443,000 foster youths nationwide. With more children entering the welfare system, more foster parents are needed to love these children as their own, then let them go. The Florida Department of Children and Families has shied away from removing children from their homes, acting under the philosophy of family preservation. Protecting families has led to the death of 477 children in six years, investigations show. Those deaths have provoked change — recent legislation directs DCF to shift its priority to acting in the best interest of the child.As fearful as child protective investigators were to remove children from their homes, now they’re scared to let them stay. Child welfare workers sense a surge of children coming, but the increase of children that will enter the system remains unknown.But there is good news, too. Despite several discouraging trends, there is hope. 3,652 more children were adopted out of foster care than the previous year. Adoptions have grown by 13% in just two years. For the many children whose parental rights have been terminated and are waiting for a family, that is great news! Most of that increase is attributed to the 52% of adoptions that were by foster parents.FOSTER CARE FACTS • On any given day, there are nearly 443,000 children in foster care in the United States. • More than 690,000 children spent time in U.S. foster care. Nearly 110,000 are waiting to be adopted, waiting year after year for their forever home. • On average, children remain in state care for nearly two years and six percent of children in foster care have languished there for five or more years. • Despite the common perception that the majority of children in foster care are very young, the average age of kids entering care is 8. • While most children in foster care live in family settings, a substantial minority — 11 percent — live in institutions or group homes. • The government invests less than 50% of what it actually costs to raise a child. Close to 30,000 will age out of foster care every year and have to be self-sufficient at age 18, 19, 20 or 21. • It is not surprising then that within four years of aging out 70% will be on government assistance; 50% will be unemployed; 50% will experience homelessness; 25% will not have completed high school; Less than 12% will earn their college degree. Resulting in $1 Million economic burden to society for each young person we fail.

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Human Trafficking

Sally Richardson NOT For Sale... Ever. Again



The whole idea of being driven in life is connected with the idea of causality, of life moving under the power of the past.  And that is so ingrained in our common sense that it’s very difficult to get rid of it. A thing constructed can only be loved after its constructed, but a thing created is loved before it exits. - Charles Dickens, Authentically Pivot

By Simon E. Bois, Florida Night Train

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