May is National Foster Care Month; a time to give thanks to the amazing foster caregivers in our community. As we reflect on the critical role foster caregivers play in the lives of children who have experienced the trauma of child abuse and neglect, we are reminded of their daily commitment to provide safe, stable and nurturing environments for our most vulnerable children and youth. Foster care must act as a support system for families, not a substitute for parents.

Developing partnerships between local agencies, and faith-based and community organizations is key to building foundations that support family reunification and family preservation.

As with everything, COVID-19 has had a significant impact on foster caregiving. Our local foster caregivers have been truly amazing during this pandemic. They have stepped in to facilitate virtual school, learned to participate in virtual court and virtual home visits with case managers and are supervising virtual visits between the children in their homes and their birth parents.

During this pandemic our need for quality foster homes has increased. If you have ever thought about fostering please reach out to us at 863-519-8900, x.289 to learn about our new streamlined foster home licensing process. Additionally, there are many other ways for individuals and organizations to get involved and support children and families in this community. Visit our website heartlandforchildren.org and follow us on social media.

Teri Saunders, CEO

Heartland for Children, Inc.

Bartow