November is National Adoption Month, and we’ve been busy here at Kids Central. What does this month mean for Kids Central and children it serves in Florida’s 5th Judicial Circuit? It means the staff work tirelessly to recruit new foster parents and potential adoptive parents to care for the children residing in foster homes in Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion and Sumter Counties.
With close to 400 children in licensed foster care, Kids Central recruits, trains, and licenses new foster homes to be temporary homes for children who cannot safely remain with their families. Foster parents help these traumatized children transition back with their biological families or into a new permanent living situation.
November has been a banner month for Kids Central. Numerous events have been held throughout the area to help recruit foster parents and provide information to others interested in learning about fostering. On November 8th, Kids Central was honored to be part of the Orphan Sunday Services at Lake County churches.
The Lakeside Church in Oakland, just outside Clermont, hosted foster parent recruiter,
Rosey Moreno-Jones, as a special guest for both of its Sunday Services. Rosey shared her own personal family story of fostering and adoption with the congregation, along with the call to action to give foster children hope and a future. With such a great response from church-goes, a special orientation was scheduled several days later. From orientation, six families came forward and have subsequently agreed to take the next steps to becoming licensed foster parents.
Amber and her husband, Andreas, are currently in foster parent training and hope to be licensed before Christmas. They spearheaded the activities at The Lakeside Church and Orphan Sunday. According to Amber, “We’ve been in training for just over 8 weeks now, and the more we’ve learned, the more motivated we’ve become to bring awareness of the need for foster families. Unless people are being challenged to do something about it – it’s far too easy to ignore the need, but these children are the most vulnerable.”
Also on November 8th but on the other side of Clermont, Kids Central and DCF staff attended Liberty Baptist Church for its Orphan Sunday services to honor the foster parents. About 20 foster families joined the church to celebrate the message and the mission of Orphan Sunday. The Liberty Baptist event was organized by the Christian Alliance for Orphans, composed of 150 organizations united to promote foster care and adoption.
Continuing to spread the message of the need for caring resource families, Kids Central headed to Citrus County. Almost 100 children have been removed from home due to abuse and neglect; however, there are only 36 beds in 15 foster homes in the county.
“There is a critical need for families to open their homes and their hearts to our children in Citrus County. We have an extraordinary number of children in care but not nearly enough homes to house them,” explained Rosey. “Due to the shortage of homes, the children are forced to live outside their community in other counties and sometimes even siblings have to be separated in order to find them placement,” continued Rosey. She shared this messages with the residents of Citrus County. “Kids Central’s goal is to license another 20 homes in Citrus by the end of June 2016, and right now, we have 8 currently in training and awaiting licensure. But we have a lot of work to do to get our message out!”
Continuing the tour, Kids Central partnered with the Citrus County Foster Parent Association and hosted “Meet and Greet the Fosters” on November 10th. The event was meant to be an informal informational experience where residents could meet and speak with local foster families. Current foster parents brought friends, neighbors, or coworkers to hear testimonials from current foster families. Over 40 people attended the event.
For Stephanie, a single business woman living in Beverly Hills, it was a great chance to bring some friends to hear the message that has touched her heart. “I will be graduating from my foster parent training before Thanksgiving and hope to be licensed by Christmas. This is an opportunity for me to help children in need. I have been busy getting my home ready with bunkbeds and a crib, so when I am licensed, I will be ready!” Stephanie said. “It was easy to bring my friends who are now also excited to join me on this journey and begin the process themselves!”
Since November 10th, three more families have agreed to move forward in the process, and Kids Central hopes to have a class beginning the third week of January 2016 in Homosassa for Citrus families. For more information, contact Rosey Moreno-Jones at 352-387-3424 or email@example.com