FOSTER PALM BEACH
As a foster/adoptive parent or a prospective parent, it's important to educate yourself to recognize signs of developmental delays and build a toolkit to help your child.
GALs - does your child need a mentor? Children's Home Society has two mentoring programs and we can initiate the process. They'll do the leg work in getting any other sign-offs and they've helped a couple of my kids get connected.
Contact info is below along with a link to the form:
Bruna Galvao, Coordinator for Project 18 mentoring program for foster kids ages 13-18, 561-868-4323, Bruna.Galvao@chsfl.org;
Margie Norton, Coordinator for MODEL Mentoring program for foster kids ages 6-12, 561-868-4445 office, 561-779-3340 firstname.lastname@example.org;
Want to learn more or volunteer to be a mentor (2 year, 1 hour a week commitment): Visit https://www.chsfl.org/services/for-teens/mentoring/, or contact Brenda Coleman who oversees the Children’s Home Society mentoring programs at 561-868-4323, Brenda.email@example.com.
Help local Foster Kids!! Join us for Networking To Help Children benefiting Speak Up for Kids Palm Beach County with special guest bartenders Tiffany Copeland, Adrienne Gang, and Ross Inia from "Below Deck". Guaranteed to be a fun night with this Crew On Deck!!
A HUGE thank you to Bolay and especially their Wellington location for donating food for our volunteer child advocates to enjoy during the holiday wrapping event where over 50 community partners have donated toys, bikes, gift cards and clothes for the over 1700 foster children here in Palm Beach County. Here’s a quote from Bolay “This time of year is all about giving and we are honored to be a part of your incredible efforts with Speak Up For Kids”.
Earlier this year we were hanging out with Bolay's West Palm Beach Crew for National Adoption Month.
Thanks @Bolay Community for caring about our local foster kids!!
After raising her biological children, Dorothy felt the pangs of loneliness and decided to fill her home by fostering children. Almost 50 kids and 26 years later, she's found great joy helping to "bridge" families back together and even becoming a Forever Family for two little ones, including Gabby who co-stars in this video.
We asked Dorothy for one piece of advice for those considering fostering... she said "Try" - you don't have to be perfect, you just have to care and it will change both their life and your life forever.
Where to donate gifts for Foster Kids this holiday season?
Speak Up For Kids holiday drive ensures local children receive gifts for the holiday. Various locations drop-off locations throughout the county. Needed are new/unwrapped toys, clothes, sports equipment, etc. plus Gift Cards for our teens.There are 1700+ children under DCF supervision and 1200 Palm Beach County kids living in an "out-of-home" situation so the need for gifts is high. Ages of children "in care" vary but about 600 of the kids in out-of-home care are ages 0-5, 300 ages 6-12, and 300 13-18.
Keep us in mind too after the holidays, gifts and gifts cards are needed for birthdays - it's such an important event for kids to celebrate and many have never enjoyed a birthday celebration EVER.
Donation Dropoff Locations to date:
*Foster Palm Beach is a program of Speak Up For Kids, and any support should be made directly to them https://speakupforkidspbc.org/.
Holiday Gift Drive for Foster Children
Heavenly Father, the birth of your Son Jesus Christ brought great joy to Mary and Joseph. We thank you for every child whose birth brought great joy into the world. So, we pray that these orphans will bring great joy to the family that will take them in.
Heavenly Father, our prayer is that they grow up healthy in body and strong in spirit, through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Heavenly Father, we pray for the orphans that they may grow up in families, that as they begin to discover something of themselves and of your world, their gifts and talents may be used creatively, their decisions may be based on what is good and of real worth, and their lives may be directed in the paths you have planned.
Heavenly Father, we pray for their spiritual development, that they may grow up in the fear of God, in the faith of Christ, and in the fellowship of the Church, to love and serve you all their days.
Heavenly Father, grant to our orphan children this gift above all, that as they grow in years, they may grow also in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; so that when the time comes, they may go out into the life of the world strong in the faith of the Lord their God.
Grant these blessings in the Name of Your Son our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen
"The first step to becoming a foster parent in Palm Beach County is to attend a one-hour information session at one of the eight licensing providers here in Palm Beach County," says Diana of Speak Up For Kids during a recent interview at WPBF 25 with Mark Kelly. "In fact, you can sign up right now while we're chatting!" [Weekly information sessions/orientations are listed on the www.FosterPalmBeach.org/events page]. At the orientation, you'll learn the requirements to foster children such as background checks, training, and home studies plus you'll find out the various benefits the children receive such as Medicaid, ELC Vouchers, a monthly stipend along with community resources available to you throughout the county. "To succeed, you need community support and many nonprofits and resources are available in Palm Beach County." "These information sessions are designed to provide more detail and then you're ready, you then take the next step." Hear the full interview here: www.wpbf.com/article/foster-palm-beach/29413629
The lead Child Based Care (CBC) agency here in Palm Beach County is ChildNet who subcontracts the licensing and management of homes to various providers.
Speak Up For Kids is the nonprofit support to the Guardian ad Litem Program and recognizing the need more caring foster homes and the need for a centralized point for information on becoming a foster parent, Speak Up For Kids created and is devoted to finding caring homes for abused, abandoned, & neglected children in Palm Beach County through their #FosterPalmBeach Program.
Other ways to help include Guardian ad Litem Volunteer Child Advocates who spend 10-15 hours a month advocating for a child. Volunteer time as a Guardian ad Litem is fairly flexible - volunteers see the kids at least once every thirty days wherever they are placed, and the other work is often done via phone or email. Volunteers appear in court at least twice a year and file monthly status update reports.
Donations to Speak Up For Kids help to fund these programs as well as normalcy items for the children themselves such as birthday cakes/gifts, voice lessons, karate, basketball camps, Girl Scouts, etc. Make a 110% IMPACT! Honda Cares will add a 10% matching bonus to every donation now through February 26, 2020.
Forever Families (adoption) are needed for the children whose parents are not able to correct the issues bringing the children "into care" and Mentors are needed to give the children experiences and support the future development into productive and stable young adults.
To foster in Palm Beach County, visit our "Upcoming Events" page to sign up for an information sessions. Links for advocating, donating, adopting, or mentoring can be found on the "Other Ways To Help Page".
You may also call 561-223-9646 for a one-on-one conversation.
It's long been said that if every church took care of one foster child or orphan, there would be more resources than need, commonly known as One Church, One Child.
At Foster Palm Beach, we partner with local faith-based organization to make it easy to help find foster parents, guardian ad litem volunteer child advocates, mentors, and other support. We call this Faith-Based Advocacy and our community partner PBC Unites provides tools for churches, synagogues, and more to easily get involved in foster care initiatives. Flyers, bulletin inserts, bookmarks, and speakers are all available for free!
November is National Adoption Month and internationally a celebration is held annualy called Orphan Sunday. To quote CAFO.org (Christian Alliance For Orphans): "As Christians respond to God’s call to care for the orphan, lives are transformed. Orphan Sunday varies as much as the people and churches involved. You can participate through sermons and Sunday school classes, prayer gatherings, and simple meals, fundraisers and live concerts."
Visit https://www.pbcunites.org/faith-based-advocacy.html for resources for your foster care ministry.
We remember Tina from the stories her GAL used to share about her journey through foster care to the wonderful young woman she has become today. Tina was adopted through foster care and now has a forever family. Thanks to CBS12's Liz Quirantes, WPEC, for sharing her story: https://cbs12.com/f…/forever-family/forever-family-meet-tina.
Guardian ad Litem volunteer child advocates like Lynne Brown and Tess (her missed and beloved puppy) stand by our kids and provide a voice for them in court. Teaching them to be brave and advocate for what's best.
Want to help? Attend an adoption orientation at CHS (see events page) or visit www.GALPBC.org for information on how to become a GAL.
Thanks to CBS12 & Liz Quirantes for showing the many ways to help Palm Beach County Foster Children.
Each week CBS12 highlights a child who is looking for a Forever Family, an adoptive family. Beyond those children needing forever families, Liz and CBS12 raise awareness about the need for foster families, volunteer child advocates, and mentors.
You can volunteer as an advocate to help children navigate the foster system being their voice is a very entangled court system. Imagine being a 9-year old who attends a court hearing about the decisions made for his/her placement and general well-being; how scary would that be!
As a Guardian ad Litem Volunteer Child Advocate, you'll visit your assigned child(ren) at least once every 30 days, you'll have access to court documents, educational, medical, and therapeutic records. You'll get to know the various parties in the case and then make a best interest recommendation regarding the child, addressing all of their needs.
It sounds like a lot but it's easily doable in 10-15 hours a month. Much of the volunteer work can be done in the evenings or weekends, and it's often phone work, so even busy people can find time to help.
To take the next step, call the GAL office at 561-355-6224 or visit www.GALPBC.org. You'll complete an interview, attend training, go through a thorough background check, and once certified, you'll be on your way to helping a child succeed.
A partnership between the Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program and Florida Association of Women Lawyers (FAWL) connects FAWL members with older youth in foster care. The FAWL member will mentor the youth as they transition into independence.
More info and Free 7 Hours of CLE: https://guardianadlitem.org/get-involved/fawl-in-love-with-gal-forging-their-future/
The Free 7 Hours of CLE for attorneys and law students includes:
Includes 2 Hours of Ethics and 1 Hour Bias Elimination Credits
7 Hours certification Credits: Juvenile Law/Marital and Family Law
From Diana Reese, Volunteer Child Advocate, Guardian ad Litem...
So today is my "37th" birthday and here's my wish: That we work together as a community to help children in tough situations. This story is a perfect example.
My friend Maria Bond knew Jazzie from her days interning at Friends of Foster Children of Palm Beach County, Inc. When Jazzie took on the parental role of caring for her four younger siblings along with her own one year old, Maria shared WPTV's story (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEW5l2k1AnI&feature=youtu.be).
I and my friends at Speak Up for Kids Palm Beach County, Foster Palm Beach, & Guardian ad Litem Program-Palm Beach County, Florida, Coleen LaCosta then started to share. My friends at Keller Williams Palm Beaches put together a fundraiser at the KW offices. Donations started coming in to help this family stay together.
We asked our friend David Chirico from Networking to Help Children to share with his supporters. We had several people make donations, dropping off clothes, (special thanks to Maryanne Hedrick), and then Realtor Maria Colandrea called and said she was doing a fundraiser in her neighborhood. She collected gift cards, clothes, and shoes that the girls loved! Then Maria found out the girls needed proper beds and she went to work getting her friends and neighbors to donate the bunk beds you see here, plus the mattresses, plus the bedding, and curtains, and more supplies. And she's still going - texting my phone with more as I write.
In addition to helping this family, one of her donors had bunk beds to give which were too big for Jazzie's place so I reached out to some of our Foster Parent Licensing agencies to see who needed bunk beds to be able to license a prospective foster family. Within 60 seconds of sending that email, both sets were gone. [We do still need a truck to move them pretty please]
So this is community working together for a brighter future and bringing smiles to children's faces!
Thank you 🥰
Martin COUNTY FOSTER CARE LICENSING, FOSTER PARENT TRAINING, FOSTER HOME INFO IN 19th Judicial Circuit
In response to the many inquiries of which agencies license foster homes in Martin, Okeechobee, or St. Lucie Counties, please find the following info. Note that this site is designed to facilitate Palm Beach County foster home recruitment but we want to help all kids so if you have issues finding an agency, call. We'll do the leg work for you.
Lead Community Based Care Agency (DCF designated agency who oversees licensing subcontractors https://www.myflfamilies.com/service-programs/community-based-care/lead-agency-websites.shtml):
Communities Connected for Kids
1860 SW Fountainview Blvd, Suite 200
Port St. Lucie, FL 34986
4KIDS of the Treasure Coast (Faith-Based)
50 NE Dixie Hwy, Unit A4
Stuart, FL 34994
772-206-0746 / 772-419-8831
Camelot Community Care, Inc.
Foster Care Recruitment & Licensing Supervisor
1801 SE Hillmoor Drive, C-106
Port St. Lucie, FL 34952
772-226-6235, ext. 38104
Camelot Community Care Treasure Coast Orientation Schedule:
Third Thursday of each month at either 10:00 am or 6:00 pm
Mount Bethel Human Services Corp, Inc.
Treasure Coast Office
613 Camden Ave.
Stuart, FL 34994
Place of Hope
St. Lucie & Stuart Locations
Place of Hope Treasure Coast Orientation Schedule & Locations:
Treasure Coast – Port St. Lucie
EVERY 3RD THURSDAY
10250 SW Village Pkwy
Port Saint Lucie, FL 34987
Treasure Coast – Stuart
EVERY 1ST MONDAY
Christ Fellowship Stuart Campus
10205 SW Pratt Whitney Rd.
Stuart, FL 34997
Please RSVP on their website: https://www.placeofhope.com/foster/
ADOPTIONS in Martin, Saint Lucie, Okeechobee, and Indian River Counties are through Children's Home Society. Here's a link to the CBC's info: http://www.cckids.net/adoptions/
Broward County Foster Care Licensing, FOSTER PARENT Training, Foster Home info in Fort Lauderdale area
In response to the many inquiries of which agencies license foster homes in Broward County, please find the following info. Note that this site is designed to facilitate Palm Beach County foster home recruitment but we want to help all kids so if you have issues finding an agency, call. We'll do the leg work for you.
Lead Community Based Care Agency (DCF designated agency who oversees licensing subcontractors):
1100 West McNab Road
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309
4KIDS of South Florida, Inc. (Faith-Based)
352 N.W. 4th Street
Boca Raton, FL 33432
Click here for class schedule
Camelot Community Care, Inc.
Director of Foster Home Management
Camelot Community Care Inc
1925 South Perimeter Road, Suite 120, Ft. Lauderdale, Fl 33309
Camelot Community Care FLL Orientation Schedule 2019: 1st Tuesday of every month at 10am or 6pm - (2019 schedule: January 8th, February 5th, March 5th, April 2nd, May 7th, June 4th, July 2nd, August 6th, September 3rd, October 1st, November 5th, December 3rd). 2020 schedule coming soon.
KID Inc. (formerly Kids In Distress)
819 NE 26th Street
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33305
KID Inc. Broward County Orientation Schedule: 7pm - January 10th, March 21st, May 30th, August 8th, October 17th. Click here for link to class schedule.
Mount Bethel Human Services Corp, Inc.
Fort Lauderdale Office
1100 W. Sunrise Blvd.
FortLauderdale, FL 33311
National Youth Advocate Program
700 W Hillsboro Blvd
Building 2, Suite 205
Deerfield Beach, FL 33441
Pinnacle Family Services
351 West 136 Avenue, Suite 2017
Davie, Florida 33325
Felix Santiago, Broward (& Miami) Program 844-204-1242
800-421-2031 Ext. 2006
A great article frOM "Inc." Magazine: Thinking of Becoming a Foster Parent? Here's What You Should Know
"The toughest part about being a foster parent is the uncertainty. We never knew how long a child would be in our home and we never knew for certain where a child would go next."
"The best part about foster parenting was seeing a child get to be a kid. When they laughed really hard at something silly or when they went to summer camp, they got to experience a few of moments of a childhood joy, even though they'd been robbed of a normal childhood."
Our goal is to make the process to foster children or learn about being a forever family as easy to navigate as possible. The oversight for Palm Beach County's foster children and licensing is through the Florida Department of Children and Families' (DCF) designated Community Based Care (CBC) Provider: ChildNet which handles both Palm Beach and Broward Counties.
In Palm Beach County, the foster home management and licensing training is subcontracted by ChildNet through eight difference service providers. The goal for Speak Up For Kids' Foster Palm Beach Program is to connect you with a licensing provider as conveniently and quickly as possible.
Steps to becoming a foster parent or learn about adoption:
Step 1: Attend an orientation. Visit our upcoming events page to schedule the next information session or orientation. Events are held through Palm Beach County several times a month.
Step 2: Sign up for the next training class and complete the 21-30 hours of foster parent training.
Step 3: Complete the child abuse and criminal background check process.
Step 4: Participate in a home inspection.
Step 5: Complete a homestudy through your licensing provider who will help ensure your home is ready to provide a safe and caring environment for children.
Step 6: Wait patiently. Once all of the above are completed, the licensing provider will complete their portion of the paperwork, then submit for several levels of review. The process typically takes 3-6 months and the more diligent you are about completing the paperwork and readying your home, the more smooth the process and more quickly you will be able to help a child in need. Every aspect of the process is centered around providing a safe place for children to heal, grow, and thrive.
Click for info on the following:
National Reunification Month is celebrated each June, it is a time to celebrate the people and efforts that make it possible for families to stay together. Reunification is the most common and desirable outcome for children and youth in out-of-home care. Reunification takes work, commitment, and investment of time and resources by parents, family members, social workers, attorneys, courts, and the community. Every year hundreds of thousands of children are successfully reunified with their families.
This month let us acknowledge the important accomplishments of parents and the many professionals who work on getting children home safe after they have been in out-of-home care.
Learn more: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/permanency/reunification/
Speak Up for Kids' mission is to ensure that every abused, abandoned and neglected child in Palm Beach County is provided with a court appointed advocate, with the intention that they don’t get lost in our overburdened legal and social service system. They accomplish that mission by partnering with the 15th Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program to assemble a team that includes an attorney, a case coordinator, and a volunteer child advocate. This team works side by side throughout the dependency proceedings, following him or her during their stay in the foster care system.
Seeing the ongoing need for more foster parents, Speak Up For Kids created the Foster Palm Beach program, a community-wide approach to raising public awareness about the critical need for foster families to care for Palm Beach County’s children.
Foster Truths... Question: What happens when a White mom fosters a Black daughter and has no idea how to maintain her daughter's hair?
Last week we were honored to participate in Grace Fellowship - "A Church for all Nations" Take Heart 2019 event. The stories shared by the foster parents were impactful because the speakers were so transparent about their experiences. And the topics we discussed were not easy.
Question: What happens when a White mom fosters a Black daughter and has no idea how to maintain her daughter's hair?
Answer: Community steps in, envelopes that family in love and understanding, and works to bridge the gap. That is what Tamekia Swint of Illinois-based Styles 4 Kidz did. Heart warming endeavor!
Answer: In so many ways... Integrating new additions to a set family dynamic is always challenging. This article "How Foster Care Affects Your Biological Children" from Starting Parenting Over gives great insight into what to expect. And, in keeping with our commitment, the author doesn't sugarcoat anything.
As a Guardian ad Litem, you really get to know these children. Not only do we travel to see each child at least once every thirty days, visit their schools, speak to professionals in their lives (doctors, therapists, caseworkers, etc.), and then make a best interest recommendation to the court – but when it’s birthday time, many of our Guardians go the extra mile to make “their kids” birthday extra special!
This is a drawing a young man did and the GAL had the image placed on a special birthday cake. Who doesn’t love barbie dolls? Well the guardian helped this young mom learn how to make her daughter a special cake. And Oscar, well we all love Oscar the Grouch and these cookies brought a huge smile to a little boy’s face.
You can help by joining Speak Up For Kids Birthday Club. https://speakupforkidspbc.org/ways-to-give
We hear tragic stories every day of infants being left in dumpsters, children being abused, young lives in turmoil due to their parents drug use of domestic violence with in the family.
But there are good stories too. Of people like Diana H who has fostered over 18 children and adopted one. Or Terri C who fostered dozens of children and her own biological daughter adopted two of Terri's foster children. Or Sharonda who was ready to adopt one or two children and is stepping up to the plate to foster a large sibling group. Or the single man who just became a single dad.
These caring, nurturing individuals have opened their hearts, and their home, to care for the young humans in our world discarded by their parents. These young victims of abuse and neglect now have the chance to learn what it feels like to be wanted and loved. Isn't that what we all wish for, to be cared for and accepted, to be given then chance to be our best selves and live a happy life.
Foster Palm Beach's Centralized Foster Home Recruiter is a program of Speak Up For Kids of Palm Beach County created through a Children's Service Council Great Ideas Initiative grant to address the critical need for foster parents in Palm Beach County.
Speak Up For Kids is committed to providing every vulnerable child in Palm Beach County with a voice to advocate for their physical, educational and emotional best interests. Any financial support should be made directly through: www.SpeakUpForKidsPBC.org