SARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL (December 21, 2022) – While most families eagerly await the holidays and the fun and feasting to come, for children in the foster care system, it can be an extremely difficult time. They may miss their biological families, may not know their foster family very well, and may be feeling anxious – or angry – about their circumstances. Sadly, many children in foster care may never have experienced a holiday celebration so they may not even know what to expect.
To help children in the foster care system in Circuit 12 (Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties) to feel the warmth of the holidays, child welfare agency Safe Children Coalition has, for many years, worked to try and return children safely, as appropriate, to their biological families during the holidays. This effort, dubbed “Home for the Holidays,” requires advance preparations, including a safety analysis as to the parents’ protective capacities as well as continued oversight of ongoing reunification case plan requirements.
For hundreds of children a year who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned in Circuit 12, removal from the home is sometimes necessary for their safety. For those children, when no relative or close family contact is available to take them in, a foster family must be found. The goal of foster care is to provide a safe, stable, nurturing environment while the family is working on reunification.
“While it may only be a temporary reprieve, Home for the Holidays gives foster children the opportunity to reunite with loved ones and offers hope for better days to come,” said Safe Children Coalition president and CEO, Brena Slater. “For the majority of these youths, the time spent with family and friends is quite enjoyable and is the best possible gift we can give them.”
Safe Children Coalition leaders estimate that they will facilitate the return of up to 25 children in foster care in Circuit 12 this holiday season. Many of these youths will be going out of state to be reunified with their family. Safe Children Coalition is responsible for coordinating and caring for these children, the air travel, transportation to and from the airport, and arrangements with the caregiver(s).
A court order is required for children to return home for a visit, whether it is short term for the holidays or reunification forever.
Caring homes are urgently needed for children who have been removed from their homes. For more information or to inquire about becoming a foster parent, contact foster parent recruitment specialist Jeremy Gorzynski at 941-404-0079 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Safe Children Coalition, Inc.
Safe Children Coalition, Inc. (SCC) serves as the lead agency for community-based care for Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties. SCC is a collaboration between local community agencies who provide services to children and families in need. SCC is committed to protecting children, strengthening families, and building community. The core functions provided by SCC include child welfare case management, foster care, adoption, independent living, prevention, diversion, quality management, and support services. Visit sccfl.org or call 941-371-4799.