Let us reflect as 2021 comes to a close, and welcome in a new and prosperous 2022 for all.
A message from our founder:
2021 while an improvement over 2020, brought with it it’s own challenges. As a non-profit, Fostering Hope still struggled to raise money with COVID limitations still in place. Families already at-risk in our community, were the hardest hit and the result was an increase in kids coming into foster care. Our already struggling local lead Child Welfare agency, Eckerd crumbled under the pressure. Children were sleeping in offices, bouncing from home to home, sick and hurting children weren’t getting services, workers lost track of the kids on their caseloads, and foster homes were over-crowded and plagued by the rampant spread of the virus. In November, our State Department of Children & Families announced that Eckerd was out, contract terminated effective December 31st. This lead to a month of confusion, unanswered calls, child welfare workers wondering if they would be employed in 2022, foster parents left to handle things on their own, court hearings cancelled, dozens of local agencies, like Fostering Hope, not knowing what would become of their partnership with Eckerd (all contracts were scheduled to terminate December 31st) and most of all, our community’s children all at a greater risk than ever.
Thankfully, as we embark on the new year, HOPE is on the horizon. The State contracted with, Family Support Services (FSS) to replace Eckerd and lead our community’s foster care system. FSS comes to our community with a track record of running a successful system of care in Duval County. “We’ve been successful in part because of our ability to mobilize available resources in the community and build lasting relationships,” said FSS president and CEO Jenn Petion in a statement.
The holiday season brought with it lots of smiling children as our village stepped up to provide gifts for our kids. Fostering Hope was able to distribute presents to 350+ children, and hosted a Breakfast with Santa for 40 foster families (200 kids). The hope was alive and well in the faces of our kids. Then last week, Fostering Hope received notification that our contract to serve children was adopted by FSS. The end of the year closed with more good news, with our supporters sending in enough donations to right our ship and sail us into another year of working in partnership with our community to create a compassionate system of foster care here in Tampa Bay. Thank you everyone for your support. Wishing you health, love and happiness in 2022.
This Is Foster Care
Local Foster Parent Kristen Otis writes:
"I had to tell my kiddos this morning that there would be 4 new friends tonight. They didn’t say “But what about this or that”, they didn’t say “But mom then we can’t do such and such.” they said “Okay mom!” they said “Awesome! We are the same age!” They said “I’ll share my stuffed animal in case she is scared.” They said “We need to make sure there’s a nightlight.”
My kids are a lot of things. They are too much for a lot of people with their trauma and needs and behaviors. They are complicated and loud. They are also kind, giving, and loving. Today they made cry happy tears. Today I’m reminded that while sometimes we feel like we do everything wrong and we feel defeated and overwhelmed we clearly did something right along the way."
If you’re ready to open your heart and home to a child, call/text Gloria 727-688-5328.
This is what our partnership with the community looks like:
On behalf of Fostering Hope Florida I would like to thank the Gulf Harbors Yacht Club for hosting a fun Christmas party for our Hope House kids. The kids were completely caught up in the magic of Christmas as Santa and his Elf arrived by Sea. Thank you for helping us create beautiful childhood memories for our kids.
We want to thank all the organizations and people who stepped up and helped us collect and gift toys and goodies to our local foster children. Thank you so much to Crosspoint Church, Palm Tree Dental, Glen Lakes Garden Club, and all who came out to House of Beer to support the Derek Teele event. It takes a village, and we appreciate each and everyone of you who helped make this season merry and bright.
Photos from our annual Breakfast with Santa Claus 2021
Our Annual Breakfast with Santa Claus was a merry and bright event. Thank you to everyone who collected toys for us, donated time by volunteering and donated gifts for our local foster children to enjoy.
Thank you for being our village. Our work is only possible through your support. If you wish to help make a difference, click the button below.