The Florida Department of Children and Families, along with its community partners, have joined together to honor foster families during National Foster Care Month.
The annual celebration recognizes all foster parents, foster family members, volunteers, mentors, policymakers, child welfare professionals, and others in the foster-care community, who play a significant role in enhancing the lives of children and youth in foster care.
“So many children have a place they call home because of the selfless acts of current foster parents,” Secretary Mike Carroll said. “There are so many opportunities to participate in the foster care system, and I encourage you to take the first step and contact a local community partner to see how you can get involved.”
As of January 2017, Florida has 23,596 children placed with relatives, family friends, family foster homes and group homes. Many foster parents pursue additional training to become medical and therapeutic foster parents. In addition to those children in foster care, there are 899 children are available for adoption.
Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) Director Barbara Palmer said, “Providing quality foster care to children in need, including those with disabilities, is vital to our state. In celebration of Foster Care Month, APD will be launching a campaign to encourage more families to become foster families for children with developmental disabilities. APD’s Family Care Council members will be available to these new foster families to offer advice and their experience in rearing children who have disabilities.”
Many of these foster children have been removed from their homes by no fault of their own, but because they have experienced abuse or neglect and cannot safely remain with their parents. Foster parents change lives by offering love, compassion, and hope to some of Florida’s most vulnerable.
Community-Based Care (CBC) lead agencies throughout the state work to recruit, license and match foster parents with children in need of short and long-term homes. Each CBC works to address the unique needs of their communities in recruiting foster parents.