Each year in the month of May, the nation celebrates and recognizes the tens of thousands of amazing families who open their hearts and homes to children in the Foster Care system to provide a safe and nurturing environment for children to heal and thrive. According to Foster Club, on any given day “there are over 400,000 children in foster care … that translates to a child entering care every two minutes in the United States.” Nationally the number of children entering foster care is increasing; similarly the state of Florida averages over 1,200 children removed from their homes each month. This means the demand for loving families is increasing daily.
Currently in Brevard County, we have 120 licensed foster families who can serve 280 children. These families are among Brevard’s most caring and compassionate citizens who are making a difference by investing in the lives of our children each and every day. Foster parenting is a calling that can reap great reward and personal satisfaction in knowing a child’s life has been positively impacted.
For the past year, Brevard Family Partnership has operated Child Placing Services in house and set a goal to recruit 60 new foster families this year; and to date we are on the path to attain that goal. While 60 is a reasonable target to ensure there is always sufficient capacity of families available to respond to the needs of our children, but wouldn’t it be amazing to have hundreds of new families joining us in our mission and vision to “Protect Children, Strengthen Families and Change Lives?”
To achieve the goal of greatly expanding our network of families, BFP is in the process of enhancing the foster care continuum to include resource homes which exclusively provide short term respite and initial placement for children for 7-10 days. Because it is so important for siblings to remain together when removed from their home and it is often difficult to find a placement for large sibling groups, we are seeking additional resources for our new level of care, “Family Ties”, where large sibling groups can remain together, in one home, in the local community and school. Additionally, we are expanding our network to include Treatment Foster Care through the “Solutions” program. This program will wrap services and supports around children who require additional resources to heal, and also addresses the needs of youth with complex challenges. Furthermore, BFP is partnering with local agencies that will provide “Family Teaching” homes where teens are able to develop the skills necessary for healthy adolescent development.
Caring for Brevard’s vulnerable children is the role and responsibility of all citizens and there are many opportunities available to invest in the life of a child. If you are interested in learning more about foster parenting or ways in which you can make a difference please visit our website at www.brevardfp.org or call 321-752-4650 to learn more.
In closing, as we recognize and celebrate the contribution Brevard’s foster parents make in the lives of vulnerable children every day, it is important to remember their commitment is 365 days a year and they are truly Children’s Hero’s. On behalf of Brevard Family Partnership thank you! Many lives have been changed because of you!
Dr. Patricia Nellius