May 31, 2017
We just wrapped up National Foster Care Month, but for many of us, appreciating foster care families is a year round mission from the heart.
First, let’s talk about the need. Children and youth enter foster care because they need a safe place to live while their parents work to resolve issues that have affected their personal and family life. Currently there are over 1400 children in out of home care in our four county panhandle area, and over 500 of those children are in local foster homes. Some local children unfortunately are placed outside of our community due to not having enough homes locally.
Now, let’s talk about the opportunity to help. The way to meet the greatest need is to become a foster parent. You can visit FFN’s web page and even talk to a recruiter so see what it’s about. You’ll need to attend training and go through the licensing process before having a child placed with you. The licensing requirements are designed to provide kids in need with a healthy, family-oriented environment.
If being a foster parent isn’t a good option for you right now, that’s okay! Believe it or not, there are a variety of different ways you can help the foster care process. You can support foster families in your area with a meal, kid clothes, school supplies, baby items, or just a short break.
Finally, what it’s like being a foster parent. Anyone who works to make a positive impact in the life of a child will tell you the experience is usually more beneficial for the adult than the child. You cannot change what happened in a child’s life yesterday, but you can change what happens tomorrow. Foster parents only differ from the rest of us because the reached out to help children. You can too.
If you want to learn more about supporting our local foster care system, visit our website, www.FamiliesFirstNetwork.org or give us a call at (850) 453 – 7777.
President, FamiliesFirst Network of Lakeview Center and member of Achieve Escambia’s Operational Support Team