Earlier this month, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a proclamation recognizing May 2021 as National Foster Care Month, an annual observance to acknowledge the impact that foster families, community partners, and child welfare professionals have on shaping the lives of children and youth in foster care.
“All children deserve support and encouragement. I am thankful for the thousands of foster parents in our state who provide safety and a sense of family to children in foster care,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “In addition, I want to extend my gratitude to the social workers, community partners, case managers, investigators, judges, guardians ad litem, and other child welfare professionals who work to make sure children have a safe place to lay their heads each night.”
“Join us this month in thanking Florida’s amazing foster parents, professionals, and volunteers for their selfless commitment to ensure every child has a safe and loving home,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis. “Please visit MyFloridaMyFamily.com to learn how you can make a lasting impact that can change the life of a child, as well as your own.”
“Foster families give much-needed support to children who have endured traumatic situations, positively shaping each child’s future. On behalf of the department, thank you to all of our foster families and the dedicated professionals within the system of care,” said Department of Children and Families Secretary Shevaun Harris.
“Each day I’m reminded and inspired by stories of selfless foster families and dedicated child welfare workers who answer the call for help from every corner of the state,” said Kurt Kelly, CEO and President of the Florida Coalition for Children. “Sometimes those calls come in the middle of the night — a child needs a safe place to stay due to a family crisis — and our foster parents open their hearts and homes to children when they need help the most. That’s the definition of superhero to me, especially as the pandemic has magnified stress levels over the past year.”
As part of the Governor’s commitment to youth and families, two new initiatives were launched in September 2020 to support foster and adoptive families – Florida’s Foster Information Center and MyFloridaMyFamily.
Florida’s Foster Information Center is a hotline designed with prospective foster parents in mind and has received over 3,500 calls so far. By dialing 1-83-FOSTERFL, prospective parents can reach a network of ambassadors comprised of current and former foster parents who are able to answer questions, offer anecdotes and share their lived experiences. More than half of callers have gone on to be connected with the local licensing agency.
Governor and First Lady DeSantis announced MyFloridaMyFamily.com at last year’s Child Welfare Summit. The website helps pair families in need with local faith and community organizations who are eager able to help. With numerous matchmaking features on the platform, the state has increased foster and adoptive parent recruitment, connected Floridians with helpful resources in their area, and engaged faith and community organizations with supporting vulnerable families.
To learn more about how community members can support Florida’s foster system or to start the process of becoming a foster parent, visit MyFloridaMyFamily.com.