DCF and Community Partners Rally Around Foster Parents at Fostering Awareness Event

Media Advisory: November 9, 2012
Contact: Nicole Stookey, Northwest Region Communications Director, (850) 509-2675

DCF and Community Partners Rally Around Foster Parents at Fostering Awareness Event
“Each One Reach One” pep rally will launch new initiative to recruit, retain local foster homes for abused and neglected children

PANAMA CITY – Local social services agencies have teamed up to host a pep rally to cheer on local foster parents next week. With the help of the Bay High Tornadoes cheerleaders and marching band, the “Each One Reach One” pep rally will celebrate the successes of the local fostering community and introduce a new foster parent recruitment and retention program.

In response to the shortage of local foster homes, the Department of Children and Families and partners will launch “Each One Reach One,” to recruit and support valued foster parents who are highly committed, well-trained partners in raising children who have been abused and neglected.

Currently, there are more than 170 children in foster care in our community. Every day, area children enter foster care through no fault of their own but because they cannot safely remain in their own homes due to abuse or neglect. These children are in need of a stable and supportive home where they are nurtured and loved so they can grow into successful adults.

Fostering changes lives and helps children become productive, contributing citizens. The “Each One Reach One” pep rally is a call to action for child welfare professionals and community partners. Their challenge is to increase the number and quality of local foster homes that will provide love, support and guidance to children who need help and engage community organizations and businesses in building a strong network of support for foster families.

WHAT: “Each One Reach One” Pep Rally Event

WHO: More than 100 foster parents, children in foster care, youth who have aged out of the foster care system, child welfare professionals, members of the faith community, school personnel, civic and business organizations, and child and family advocates are expected to attend. Speakers include Tanya Wilkins, Governor’s Office of Adoption and Child Protection Volunteer Advocate for Foster Care and Adoption; Gerald Waters, Florida State Foster and Adoptive Parent Association Regional Vice President; Ted Roberts, a local foster parent; and Dr. Peter Claussen, local pediatric dentist. Special performances by the Bay High Tornadoes marching band and cheerleaders.

The event is sponsored by the Department of Children and Families, Big Bend Community Based Care, Life Management Center, Children’s Home Society of the Emerald Coast, Guardian ad Litem, United Way of Northwest Florida and Anchorage Children’s Home.

WHEN: Wednesday, Nov. 14, 3 p.m.

WHERE: Bay High Gymnasium, 1200 Harrison Ave., Panama City, FL

Area residents interested in becoming a foster parent or who want to learn about changing lives through fostering are invited to attend. For more information on fostering in Florida, please visit www.fosteringflorida.com or call Life Management Center toll-free at 1-866-769-9481.