Open Your Heart … and your home to change lives forever. Not just the lives of others, but yours as well. That’s the message behind Meet and Greet the Fosters, a Citrus County event aimed at recruiting foster and adoptive parents to care for the most vulnerable children.
Nearly 2,000 children have been removed from their homes in the Central Florida area. Kids Central is the nonprofit, lead agency charged with caring for the neglected, abused, and abandoned children in Citrus, Hernando, Marion, Lake, and Sumter counties. In Citrus County alone, over 270 children have been removed from the custody of their parents and are the responsibility of Kids Central.
Taking place at the First Assembly of God Church in Inverness on November 10th, Meet and Greet the Fosters focuses on the individuals and families who live the life – those who care for the children and support the families in crisis. This event will be part of the regularly scheduled Citrus County Foster Parent Association meeting. Guests will hear stories from local foster parents and their families in an effort to help Kids Central recruit desperately needed foster homes for Citrus County. Right now there are 15 licensed homes in Citrus County with 36 beds for foster children; however there are almost 90 children in care from Citrus County alone, resulting in Citrus County children moving to other counties across Circuit 5.
As John Cooper, CEO of Kids Central explains, “When children can no longer safely reside with their parents, we first look for family members and family supports to care for the children. Children flourish in a family-like environment and whenever possible we fight to keep the family together. When an appropriate family member cannot be identified, the children are placed foster care.”
In order to best match foster children and families, a ratio of three families to one child is necessary. The need is apparent and according to John Cooper, one of the agencies main priorities is recruiting, training and licensing more homes, “Kids Central’s greatest responsibility is to the children and families we serve. In order to best support and care for the community’s families, it is our priority to train and license loving foster families who have room in their homes and hearts for the community’s most vulnerable children.”
Guests attending this informational session, Meet and Greet the Fosters, will have all of their questions answered in one place, learn about the different levels of foster care, and hear stories from families who are deeply entrenched in this mission. It is free and open to the public. Guests will have the opportunity to fill out information packets and research the options open to those interested in helping to care for children.
Potential foster parents must be Florida residents at least 21 years old, can be single or married, and with or without children of their own. They must be financially stable with a proven history of income and may not be on any state or federal aid, including subsidized housing or food stamps. They must be physically and emotionally able to care for children and have enough beds and room in their home for foster children and their belongings. Homes must meet basic fire, safety and sanitary standards, and foster parents must be free of any substance abuse issues, as well as passing state and federal criminal background and child abuse registry checks.
For more information on becoming a foster parent, contact Rosey Moreno-Jones at (352) 387-3424. Furthermore, make plans to attend this event at the First Assembly of God located at 4201 South Pleasant Grove Road in Inverness on Tuesday, November 10th from 7 – 9pm. Snacks and refreshments will be provided, and you may perhaps begin a journey that will change your life and the lives of children forever. Open your heart and your home to a child that needs both.
Kids Central, Inc. is the not for profit lead agency selected by the State of Florida to coordinate child protection services in Circuit 5 consisting of Citrus, Hernando, Marion, Lake and Sumter counties.
Nicole Pulcini Mason
Mobile: (352) 427-6401
Mobile: (352) 233-9417