More than 430,000 children in our nation are in the foster care system.
“We shouldn’t be stinting and worry about economies when we are caring for foster care children,” said Larry Rein, CEO of ChildNet.
In Broward and Palm Beach counties?
“We’ve been as high in some really trying times with as many as 5,000 children between the two counties, but right now we’re a little bit over 3,000,” he said.
ChildNet has been chosen by the Florida Department of Children and Families to serve as the Community Based Care lead agency in both Broward and Palm Beach counties. The agency’s mission is to protect abused, abandoned and neglected children in the communities it serves.
Larry said the pandemic has made it challenging for everybody, but hasn’t put a stop to caring for children in need.
“There is no question that foster parents, birth parents, relative caregivers and adoptive parents have all been hit and affected the same way as everybody. It has put economic pressures on everybody. But what impresses me more than anything is that we haven’t lost any foster parents. We’ve done what we can to help them with resources, we’ve gotten tremendous community support,” he said.
Support for foster parents like Bailey Hughes.
“It’s been a journey and I found my passion,” said Bailey.
The journey has led her to become a mother of soon to be, four adopted children.
“We have Aria who’s eight and Asia who’s six and they’re full biological siblings. We have Jude who’s two,” she said.
And then there’s 8-month-old Tino, who’s currently in the adoption process.
Bailey was inspired to become a foster parent with her husband, when she found out she couldn’t get pregnant. Since 2015, they’ve fostered 23 children.
Bailey says she hopes their story will inspire more of the community to step up and help bring foster kids into safe and loving homes.
“Our job as foster parents is to love them and to give them that support that they need. Not every family is going to be like that but there’s also a lot of circumstances where when you extend that hand and give them that ability to work together and to co-parent it could be such a beautiful thing. You’re not just helping the child, you’re helping the whole family,” she added.
“We should constantly be trying to do the best and the most that we can possibly can,” added Larry.
Next month is National Foster Care Month. If you’d like to learn more about how to become a foster parent or support the nonprofits mission, you can find more information here.