Faith, Business, Civic Leaders Join to Help Children Enjoy Brighter Future

For Immediate Release:
March 25, 2013

Contact:
Nicole Stookey
Northwest Region Communications Director
(850) 509-2675

Faith, Business, Civic Leaders Join to Help Children Enjoy Brighter Future
Dozens of Tallahassee-area leaders join to find foster parents for children

TALLAHASSEE— More than 80 faith, civic and business leaders, foster youth and adoptive parents, child welfare professionals, and child and family advocates rallied today at the “Fostering Florida's Future” Community Call to Action at Capital City Christian Church. The Call to Action raised awareness of the critical need for high-quality local foster homes and secured commitments from faith and community leaders to support the "Fostering Florida's Future" initiative.

Cole Carritz, a former foster youth and fellow with Fostering Achievement Fellowship program at Tallahassee Community College, smiled as he recalled his time in foster care during his late teenage years. "Within two weeks, I believed my foster mom was my real mom," he said. “It is not the quantity of time you spend with your children, it is the quality that matters.”

Currently, there are more than 80 children in foster care in the Tallahassee area. Every day, 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.

"The needs of children and families in foster care are immense. It is an enormous effort to care for and provide loving, nurturing homes to thousands of children in the child welfare system,” said keynote speaker Tanya Wilkins, Florida's Advocate for Foster Care and Adoption. “Our vulnerable children are in need of loving, nurturing families that are well-supported by their communities."

The Call to Action enlisted leaders from the faith, business and non-profit communities to commit to encourage foster parenting, actively recruit foster parents and support those who step forward to be foster parents. Faith and community leaders stood and pledged their support by saying, "I am a recruiter."

"My wife and I became foster parents ourselves, and fostering is close to my heart and in our church," said Pastor Curtis Clark of Thomasville Road Baptist Church. "There are people who are ready to foster but who need a little encouragement and support. In my church, we talk about the need for foster homes, we have offered training classes and we support those who make the decision to change children's lives through fostering."

Local child welfare professionals encouraged the community to support fostering in a new foster parent recruitment video, "Anything Could Happen," which debuted at the event. Other ways organizations and individuals can help include mentoring, providing free services to children in foster care, providing scholarships for camps or other events, or becoming a Guardian ad Litem. For more information on how you can support the children and families in our community, please visit www.flpartnersforpromise.com.

For more information on fostering in Florida, please visit www.fosteringflorida.com.

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Former Foster Youth: Cole Carritz, former foster youth, recalls his experiences with a loving foster parent
Former Foster Youth: Cole Carritz, former foster youth, recalls his experiences with a loving foster parent.

Pastor Clark: Pastor Clark, a foster parent, supports fostering at his church, Thomasville Road Baptist
Pastor Clark: Pastor Clark, a foster parent, supports fostering at his church, Thomasville Road Baptist.

Secretary & Rev. Holmes: DCF Secretary David Wilkins looks on as Rev. R.B. Holmes, Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, pledges to support fostering
Secretary & Rev. Holmes: DCF Secretary David Wilkins looks on as Rev. R.B. Holmes, Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, pledges to support fostering.