All children need a safe, stable, secure environment to grow and learn. In Northwest Florida, nearly 500 children in foster care need such a place to feel protected and cared for. They are victims of abuse, abandonment or neglect. The children have been removed from their homes in an effort to assure their safety. Some children are in need of short-term shelter care placements, while others need longer term foster care placements. The children range in age from newborns to 17 years old, either gender, and all races.
On December 21, 2001 Lakeview Center and The Department of Children and Families signed the contract which allowed FamiliesFirst Network of Lakeview, Inc. to emerge as the lead child welfare agency in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Walton, and Okaloosa counties. FamiliesFirst Network provides, in conjunction with other child service providers, protective supervision, shelter and foster care, and adoption services. Support to foster families includes training opportunities, retention/support staff, and access to behavior analysts. Foster parents make a commitment to care for a child while the child's family resolves issues involving the safety and care of the children.
Foster parenting is both challenging and rewarding. Foster parents are asked to accept and nurture children in care and enable them to become family members. Short-term and long-term foster care are both temporary situations. Children in foster care are either placed back in their own homes when it is safe or in adoptive homes. The impact that foster parents have on children can make the difference in that child's success in life.
Sponsored by Lakeview Center and the State of Florida, Department of Children and Families