Ester Jacobo is the Director of Citrus Family Care Network, the non-profit lead agency contracted by the Florida Department of Children and Families to oversee child welfare services in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties.
Home. Just the word makes most of us feel safe. But for hundreds of children in Miami-Dade, home is not safe. In these challenging times, the need for caring Foster Parents is greater than ever.
During recent months our community has felt the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, the epidemic of child abuse and neglect has continued, increasing the need for Foster Parents to provide safe, loving homes.
Children thrive when they have positive connections in their lives. Foster Parents create a nurturing connection that helps kids and teens heal. Foster parenting also strengthens families by allowing biological parents the space to complete their own healing journey, culminating in reunification with their children whenever possible.
The temporary refuge Foster Parents provide can truly touch many lives in a short time. Often, Foster Parents say that the first life that is changed is their own.
It is easy to imagine Foster Parents as some distant ideal, and that you have to be perfect to foster. In reality, Foster Parents in our community are everyday heroes who do not wear capes.
Foster Parents represent a wide range of ages, backgrounds, and professions. They live in houses and apartments alike. They are married and single, biological parents, adoptive parents, and grandparents. They are members of the LGBTQ community, first-generation immigrants, and fifth-generation Floridians. They come in all colors, creeds, and political persuasions.
What unites all Foster Parents is an open heart for children – and the capacity to see beyond present challenges to future possibilities. They believe in the transformative power of love and are willing to give of themselves to assist children, teens, and groups of siblings in their moment of greatest need. They know the power of hope.
As Miami continues to pull together to face these difficult days, our community needs more heroes to foster hope and love for the most vulnerable among us. If you would like more information about becoming a Foster Parent, visit us at www.citrusfcn.com, or call us at 1-855-786-KIDS (5437).
Opening our hearts and homes today, will create a better tomorrow for Miami’s kids.