Critical Need for Foster Parents in Citrus County

The Citrus County Chronicle wrote an article about the critical need for foster parents in Citrus County. Read the article on below or here.

Bob and Ann are the typical everyday parents.

They go to work, take their son to soccer practice after school and then rush home and do it all over again the next day.

Life could soon be a smooth ride for them. Two kids are in college and one is self-sufficient.

But they decided to spice it up a little bit by providing a safe, stable home for children in need of care.

“About two-and-a-half years ago we started looking into fostering,” Ann said. “When our son was 5 years old, he had a friend whose parents were fostering. He couldn’t understand why we were not doing that. Every Christmas and birthday he asked us to.”

But Ann and Bob always had inner voices giving them excuses. “I always had a reason as to why we shouldn’t foster — didn’t make enough money, house wasn’t large enough, not a nice enough car, etc.,” Ann said. “But what I realized was that children don’t care about that stuff as long as they feel loved.”

The timing of their recent decision to foster couldn’t be more ideal.

Citrus County has a critical need for foster parents, according to Kids Central Inc. foster parent recruiter Rosey Moreno-Jones. “We have 11 homes in Citrus County,” she said. “We have 24 beds, and they are all filled. Any child that comes into care today, tomorrow, next week, will not remain in Citrus County. There just aren’t enough beds.”

Magistrate Keith Schenck sees it every day. “When I’m doing my dockets I am always asking where the child is placed. I always hear this or that county. We have kids everywhere,” he said. “Many of them wind up in Lake County, which is a huge distance from here.”

Not only is it disorderly for the court system, but also for the child’s life.

“It is a huge disruption from their life when not only are they removed from their homes, but they are removed from their schools and anything that is familiar to them,” Ann said.

Therefore, Ann, Bob, Jones and Schenck are campaigning for Citrus County to rally together to keep Citrus County kids in Citrus County.

“With a county this size we need to have at least 25 to 30 homes. Citrus County is a bad county for the number of beds-in-need in comparison to its size and population,” Jones said.

New to the fostering commitment, Ann and Bob said, despite the stereotype, children in foster care are typical everyday children who need love. “We will offer them stability and unconditional love,” Ann said. “People always ask me what my son will think with another child in the home. Where do you think these kids come from? Outer space? He is already with these kids daily. They go to school with them, ride the bus with them, on the soccer fields. These are the kids that my son is going to graduate with. We want to help make a difference in their lives.”

And they plead for others to do the same.

For more information on becoming a foster parent visit here or contact Kids Central’s Foster Parent Recruiter, Rosey Moreno-Jones at 352-387-3424