Update from the CEO
May is National Foster Care month, a time to celebrate and recognize foster parents and families from across the Brevard community who serve in our system of care. These are our heroes and champions who go above and beyond on behalf of Brevard’s abused, neglected and abandoned children each and every day.
On behalf of Brevard Family Partnership I would like to extend our gratitude to our many foster families for their dedication and commitment, and for heeding the call to help Brevard’s most vulnerable children. You have made a lasting difference in the lives of so many children and families; you have fostered hope through foster care! You open your hearts and homes to children and teens in need of care and nurturing and a place to call home, be it for a week, a month or more while their families work to become safe and stable. Thank you for giving of yourself!
I would also like to recognize the team at Devereux Florida, including Joyce Brang, Nina Buchanan, Katie Foley, Stacey Fox, Maunelle Gibson, Deborah Harp-Coaston, Laura Higginbotham, Monica Martin, Donna McLaughlin, Lisa Nelson, Ariel Prothro, and Dawn Townsend. Thank you for the support you provide to our foster parents each and every day, and for the outstanding job have done recruiting new foster homes this year, leading the state in the charge. Foster families are recruited, trained, and licensed by Devereux Florida to temporarily care for children while their parents or legal guardians work with a family team that includes the foster family, case management and professional and natural supports to meet their needs and their goals of safety and stability, and return children to their home as quickly as possible, when safe and appropriate to do so. In cases where the child becomes available for adoption, foster parents may be considered as the adoptive parents, if they choose to do so.
The Administration for Children and Families has claimed this year’s national theme as, “Supporting Youth in Transition.” A fitting theme as BFP, along with our partners, has created a Trauma Informed Care - Positive Youth Development Initiative to ensure our youth and young adults are afforded every opportunity for success. This initiative will be launched on June 20, with a community-wide summit featuring keynote addresses by three former foster youth who are now successful young adults. All are welcome to this exciting event.
This theme is also very fitting, given Florida is charting the course for reform of its Independent Living program with the recent passage of Senate Bill 1036, the “Nancy C. Detert Common Sense and Compassion Independent Living Act,” named in recognition of the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Nancy C. Detert (R-28) which promotes normalcy for youth in care, extends the timeframe in which young adults, over the age of 18, can remain in care and simply stated, “lets kids be kids.” Along with our Quality Parenting Initiative that supports foster parents with the tools and resources they need to care for children while raising the expectations for their commitment to being involved in all aspects of the child’s life, we have a strong, stable and compassionate system of care.
Our foster parents and families are as diverse as the children we serve but all have these things in common: they care deeply about all of our children and are willing to step up and step in when a child needs them. There are few restrictions to becoming a foster parent; almost anyone who has the capacity to care for a child or teen can become one.
In the state of Florida, there are over 8,000 children in foster care; over 200 are in Brevard County. The length of stay in foster care varies from a few days to several years. The average length of time a child is in foster care in Brevard is nine months. If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a foster parent, please contact Devereux Florida’s Child Placing Agency at (321) 752-3111 or visit our website at www.brevardfp.org.
Dr. Patricia Nellius
Chief Executive Officer