In a perfect world, all children would be afforded the opportunity to live and grow up in a loving and stable home, with a family who nurtured and protected them. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. According to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau; in 2015 over 428,000 children in the U.S. spent time in foster care.
In Brevard County, there are 135 foster families caring for 269 children each and every day. Our foster parents are critical partners who give of themselves and make personal sacrifices to ensure the children in their care find hope and healing while their families focus their attention on the matters that resulted in their children being removed.
Foster parents welcome children and youth into their homes as part of their family. They work with the children’s parents to support and educate them on healthy parenting and teach children skills for life, while creating a healing environment, a safe place for children to find hope for the future.
Foster parents are the heart of every community across the country. They are the unsung heroes who give of themselves to strengthen our communities by investing in vulnerable children, youth, and their families. They open their hearts and homes to heal the wounds abused children experience that could otherwise potentially afflict them for a lifetime. However, because of Brevard’s foster families, thousands of children’s lives are now on the path to a better life.
Foster parents transport children to medical and therapeutic appointments. They supervise visitation with siblings and parents. They teach youth daily living skills and comfort those who are grieving. They mentor biological parents and assist with education and remediation. They care for the basic and more complex needs of children who have experienced trauma and loss. They attend court hearings and advocate for the needs of children.
In her article, 7 Reasons You Should Become a Foster Parent,[i] Caroline Bailey writes,
- Foster care really is a mission field.
- It takes a lot of active players to help children who have experienced abuse or neglect.
- Foster parenting changes generations.
- The lessons learned through foster parenting translate to different situations throughout life.
- There are not enough homes for older children and sibling groups.
- Far too many children grow up in a setting that does not resemble a family.
- The children need you
I have had the privilege to meet and speak with many of Brevard’s foster parents over the years, and as recent as today, I met with two families who shared their reason and reward for fostering. It is seeing the difference they can make in the life of a child. I am always deeply touched and inspired by the compassion and resolve these remarkable members of our community possess. Not only do they care for the children placed in their homes, they go far above and beyond what is required of them and describe their role as a mission and a calling. Foster parents make a meaningful and lasting difference in the lives of the children entrusted to their care every day.
I consider it a privilege to work alongside of such a stellar, dedicated, passionate, devoted group of foster parents in Brevard County. Thank you cannot begin to express my deep gratitude for the lives that have been changed because of you!