TAMPA - Janet Gregory wears many hats as regional community development director for the Florida Department of Children and Families. She works with children. She works with at-risk teenagers. She works with the elderly. She loves her job and doesn't mind switching those hats whenever she needs to. "I do a lot of everything and I love doing it," Gregory said. "If it involves children, adults, seniors - it doesn't matter. We are there for them." A typical day for Gregory might consist of working with at-risk children, then going to a nursing home to help out with patients and their affairs. It's all in a day's work.
"We do a lot of things in the community, from home-based care to child welfare," Gregory said. "We have a lot of help in the local community and it makes a big difference." For example, Gregory and the department work with agencies outside of the program. She deals with seniors, for instance, who are physically neglected in nursing homes. She gets referrals from different agencies, especially the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. She will get a call and start an investigation. The same type of procedure applies to children's services. Gregory is limited to working in Hillsborough County, but she has proven that she can make a difference. "We have had a lot of success here," Gregory said. "We do the best we can with what we have. We can always use more help." Gregory said that she gets help from the Tampa Bay Workforce Alliance Board and the University of South Florida Urban Scholars Outreach program. She recently partnered with Derrick Brooks Charities and is always looking for more volunteers and prominent members of the Tampa Bay community to help. She is especially interested in helping kids improve their math and science skills. "Those are the skills kids need for the future," Gregory said. "Science, technology and math are all part of the future and the kids need to know all about it. Our job is to help kids prepare for the future." Gregory's job isn't limited to helping children. She and her organization try to help everyone. They work on helping kids and parents with substance abuse issues, mental health issues and countless other problems. With the seniors, she helps with food stamps and Medicaid problems. All are just a part of a day's work for Gregory. To contact the Florida Department of Children and Families, call (813) 337-5806 or check myflfamilies.com. The organization is located at 9393 N. Florida Ave.