FOSTER PALM BEACH
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.
Today @SesameCommunity announced a new initiative to support foster children, foster parents, & providers who serve foster families. The new content features Karli, a young Muppet in foster care and her “for now” parents, Dalia & Clem http://sesamestreetincommunities.org/topics/foster-care #SesameCommunity
From @WPBF25News Story https://www.wpbf.com/article/sesame-street-introduces-karli-a-muppet-in-foster-care/27531768:
In an effort to support foster children and families, there’s a new Muppet family living on Sesame Street.
Karli, and her “for-now” parents Dalia and Clem, was introduced Monday by Sesame Workshop to offer support foster children and foster families, the nonprofit educational organization behind the iconic children’s show said.
The effort is part of the Sesame Street in Communities program that helps provide free resources for caregivers and community providers on a number of difficult issues such as homelessness and traumatic experiences.
“Fostering a child takes patience, resilience, and sacrifice, and we know that caring adults hold the power to buffer the effects of traumatic experiences on young children,” Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president of U.S. Social Impact at Sesame Workshop, said in a news release. “We want foster parents and providers to hear that what they do matters — they have the enormous job of building and rebuilding family structures and children’s sense of safety. By giving the adults in children’s lives the tools they need — with help from the Sesame Street Muppets — we can help both grownups and children feel seen and heard and give them a sense of hope for the future.”
The material, available in English and Spanish, offers digital and printable resources.
PALM BEACH COUNTY GUARDIAN AD LITEM PROGRAM
Guardian Ad Litem is a state supported program of trained volunteers 21 years of age and older and professional staff. These volunteers become part of the court process in order to represent and advocate for a child’s best interest. Most of these children, now subjects of judicial proceedings, have been removed from their homes because of alleged abuse, abandonment or neglect.
Our volunteers advocate for needed services for the child, report to the judge, case manager and attorney via written reports/ testimony and monitor the case from beginning to end. With a GAL, a child is half as likely to languish in the foster care and child welfare system and more likely to find a safe, permanent home.
In Palm Beach County, there are approximately 1,400-1,600 children in the system at this time. To be part of Guardian ad Litem, there are no special legal skills necessary- just good common sense and the desire to help abused and neglected children. Someone interested in helping children may also volunteer for our Speak Up for Kids program. Speak Up for Kids’ is a 501(c3) non-profit whose sole purpose is to support the GAL program and its mission through fundraising, grants, community events/ awareness and presentations. Volunteers are needed for Marketing, Website Management, Administrative, Special Events and Media Relations.
To VOLUNTEER or obtain more information regarding Guardian ad Litem and Speak Up for Kids, visit our website at Galpbc.org or speakupforkidspbc.org or call 561-355-6224.
Make a lasting difference in the life of a child. VOLUNTEER to be the VOICE of a child
Foster Truths... Question: Do I have to add my foster child to my health insurance plan?
Foster Truths... Question: I am not in a position to foster right now. How else can I help?
Answer: Volunteer. Advocate. Donate.
Volunteer: Contact Guardian ad Litem Program-Palm Beach County, Florida for information on becoming a Volunteer Child Advocate. It is less intense than fostering, but serving as the voice of these children in the court system is immensely impactful.
Advocate: Share with others the need for foster parents, tutors, mentors, and volunteer advocates. Let others know this problem exists and point them in our direction.
Donate: All money donated to Speak Up for Kids Palm Beach County serves in their mission of 100% advocacy for each abused, abandoned, or neglected child in our county!
Call 561 408 7779 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
We need ALL HANDS ON DECK!
At Palm Beach County Courthouse with Michelle Canaday, Circuit Director of the 15th Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program-Palm Beach County, Florida. Michelle shares the impact volunteers make as child advocates and the need for foster parents to care for our kids.
Foster Truths... Question: Are children placed in foster care because of delinquency or criminal activity?
Foster Truths... Question: We're planning a family vacation. May we include our foster child?
Fostering for generations
On location with Mary Quinlan, Palm Beach Court Administration, "we all work together to make a difference"
Only through true community collaboration and participation can we see a monumental shift in outcomes for our youth.
Center for Child Counseling, Inc., thank you for hosting last night's Resilience event. Our partner, Speak Up for Kids Palm Beach County, which supports us as well as volunteer child advocates appointed by the Guardian ad Litem Program-Palm Beach County, Florida are ecstatic to be part of this community of advocates.
Common thread in last evening's message is that positive outcomes are magnified when a child has just one caring adult to mentor and advocate for them. Imagine the impact a family can have! You may be the agent of change a child needs!
On location at the Center for Child Counseling screening of “Resilience”, learning about ACEs with Renée Layman at Keiser University
Answer: You tell the agency the level of care you can provide (traditional, enhanced, or therapeutic) and the preferred age range and you are matched accordingly.
The success of foster placement depends upon matching children with the right families, so you are never forced to take a child.
Foster Truths... Question: Are single men excluded from serving as foster parents?
Question: Are single men excluded from serving as foster parents?
Answer: Absolutely not! Forever Families are not monolithic. This story highlights how men are rallying to support children in our communities.
NBC Miami: Single Dads Adopting Children, Creating Forever Families
Meet Barbara and Liz and listen to their inspiring stories.
YOU can make a difference.
Where do all the children go?
A plea to parents… We're reaching out to all community leaders and parents for help. We urgently need homes for children in foster care. Over 100 children entered “the system” in March alone. And of all the 1133 children in an out-of-home situation from Palm Beach County, 550 are ages 5 and under. Sadly, we expect this number to increase with the April reporting.
So where do all these children go? When possible, children are placed with relatives or non-relative friends. But far too many of these children end up in the foster system and we are have a critical need for more foster families, especially those willing take in sibling groups (there are 99 siblings separated as of 3/31).
HOPE rests with YOU, the moms, dads, aunts, uncles, grandmas, grandpas, and empty nesters of our great community.
YOU could be a foster parent! YOU could be a child advocate!
YOU could you share the need with your community, friends, groups, coworkers, church, and family? Could you open your heart, and your guestroom, to a child who needs a home? It’s easy to learn what it takes to become a foster parent.
Weekly info sessions are held, just visit our website at: https://www.fosterpalmbeach.org/events.html
Thank you for caring!
Diana Reese #Foster
PalmBeach Palm Beach County Centralized Foster Home Recruiter
A program of Speak Up For Kids of Palm Beach County
Volunteer Child Advocate/PBC Guardian ad Litem Program
205 North Dixie Hwy, Suite 2.2100
West Palm Beach, FL 33401 561-223-9646; cell 772-285-7446
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