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Rose & Brian Bailey: Adoptive Parents

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Open Your Doors.... and Your Hearts

How you can help the kids in need of our community

When I started gathering my thoughts for this “Kids and Pets” themed issue, one of the first things that came to mind was expressing the importance of what’s happening right in our own town.  I was able to speak with the Community Resource Manager, Christina Kaiser, at Communities Connected for Kids to learn about their company and how we, as a community, can help. Communities Connected for Kids is a State Foster Care, Adoptions and Protective Services Agency throughout Okeechobee and the Treasure Coast. They are responsible for the care of every child who comes into their system of care. Below are a few questions and answers on some facts that we should know and be aware of for the kids in our community.

Q&A with Christina Kaiser

Q: How does a child come into your care?

A: The answer is rather complex. This is a two part system, where a call comes into the abuse hotline and the situation is assessed thoroughly. Investigations handle making the decision of if this child is in serious danger and needs to be removed from the home immediately. If so, it becomes crunch time. No matter the time of day, there’s now a placement team that’s responsible for finding a family that can take these kid(s) in. Sometimes it’s one, sometimes it’s multiple! Having families who are willing and able to open their home to siblings is so important for us to keep families together. The more families we have in the area who are able to foster, the quicker we can get these kids in need to safety. 

Q: How can the community help?

A: Put it this way, we have 77 foster homes throughout 4 counties, and just shy of 900 children in the system of care right now.  Of these 900, 250 are in licensed, out of home placement, meaning they have been removed from home and are not living with relatives. With that being said, the one thing our organization needs more than anything else is foster parents. It’s critical to everything that we do. We do a good job with the limited number we have, but we can do a GREAT JOB with more. If a child needs to leave their community altogether, we’re now talking about separating them from their family, their home, their pets, their friends, their neighborhood; everything they know and love. Finding families within the same community will help these kids not lose everything, and lessen this already traumatic experience. We do our best to find foster homes for these kids, instead of placing them in group homes, but this is the last resort. Group homes are a critical component of the system, but it’s just not an ideal place for these young children. We need to find them HOMES. We need to find people willing to open their doors and take in kids in need.  Spread the word - we do a lot of social media campaigns to keep the message out there, so please share it if you see it!

Q: What is the most important message for the community to know?

A: There is one commonality among our foster parents, and that is, that it’s worth it. There’s a lot of thinking that goes into fostering or adopting, and a lot of heartburn getting to that point, but our parents will tell you that it was the best decision they have ever made.  I think the community needs to understand that most of the families that go through this separation are families like everyone else. There’s a stigma against the families/parents, but with the right services, some of them can be healed. Our goal is to reunite families, not separate them. We want to create a bridge that maintains the foster home with the biological family, and help fix the problem to get these families back together down the road.


 

All in all, our community needs YOU. We need help to get these kids and families the care that they need.  If you find that your house is a little too quiet, or your heart needs a little extra fulfillment, take a moment to look into opening your doors and your arms for a child in need in our community. Take the first step in starting the process by calling 772.873.7800. We hope to see your family grow soon! Please visit cckids.net for more information. 

  • Rose & Brian Bailey: Adoptive Parents
  • The Young Family