Governor Ron DeSantis has proclaimed this week, February 8-12, 2020, as Florida Foster Family Appreciation Week to acknowledge the thousands of foster parents in the state who provide love, care, and support to foster children every day.
“Many people talk of wanting to make the world a better place – these families are doing it,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “The impact that a foster family can make in a child’s life can truly change their entire future. I’m thankful for these families who have selflessly opened their hearts and homes to care for vulnerable children.”
“These families make an incredible difference for children across our state and we celebrate their lasting impact on these young lives,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis. “Florida is blessed to have so many outstanding foster parents who help to nurture them and create stability in their day-to-day lives.”
“Foster parents aren’t just caregivers, they’re bedtime story readers, lunchbox packers, and family game night referees – they’re truly the ‘love’ in our system, and we’d be lost without them,” said Department of Children and Families Secretary Chad Poppell. “Right now, there are just over 8,000 licensed foster families, including relative and non-relative caregivers, giving their time, energy, homes, and hearts to ensure every child has a safe, happy place to lay their head at night. We are incredibly grateful for them.”
Florida has approximately 10,500 children residing with foster families while they await reunification with their biological family or to be adopted. DCF contracts with community-based care agencies throughout the state to conduct training, background screening, and licensing before pairing children with foster families.
“Foster families are true champions in communities across Florida, providing safe, stable, supportive homes for abused and neglected children,” said Kurt Kelly, CEO and President of the Florida Coalition for Children. “Our foster families commit each day to the crucial job of teaching children and birth families how to heal, thrive, and create a successful future for themselves.”
“Florida’s an amazing place to be a foster parent. We are surrounded by agency, staff, and community that all come together to help foster families. Foster parents are often the backbone of a case, helping children heal, families learn, and, ultimately, helping put family and community back together again. We’re honored that that is recognized regularly in Florida,” said Amanda Cruce, President of the Florida Foster/Adoptive Parent Association.
In 2020, the Governor, First Lady, and Secretary Poppell announced new initiatives to support and grow the foster community. The first, MyFloridaMyFamily, is a multi-purpose online portal that allows faith and community organizations to lend help to foster families and biological families facing hardships. The other, Florida’s Foster Information Center (1-83-FOSTERFL), brings together current and former foster parents to man a phone line for prospective foster parents that provides answers, guidance, and support.
If you or your organization want to become involved in supporting vulnerable children and families through fostering, service, or donations, please visit MyFloridaMyFamily.com to learn more.