Foster Friday

Foster Friday

Introducing the Looker Family

The Looker family has been in the role of foster parents with One More Child and, according to them, it has been a roller coaster ride.  Over the nine years of providing foster care to children of Southwest Florida, they say that the kids have brought happiness and tears both, but they would not change any of it!  They have adopted six children and are currently fostering one child in their home.  They have enjoyed working with the whole system as they work to help children as well as their families.  According to Connie Looker, the foster mom, "God has lead us down this path and it's been truly amazing."

Introducing Rachel Desforges

Rachel has been a licensed foster parent since 2015 and has provided a loving home for all the children that have been placed with her.  Rachel has had the current children in her care for over 3 years and continuously advocates for what is bet for the children.  Rachel is in the process of providing a forever home for a sibling group that is currently in her home, and is hopeful to provide a forever home to an additional child.  Rachel has supported biological family involvement with all the children that have been in her care.  You have made a lifelong impact on the children in your home as well as for the workers that have been in a part of your journey.  Thank you Rachel, for all that you have done for the children in your home.



Introducing the Gregware Family

Kelsie and Justin Gregware have been licensed foster parent for four years.  They are strong advocates for the children that come into their care.  They feel that fostering is their way of providing a safe and loving home to a child in need.  Kelsie is a stay at home mother, and he can dedicate her time and attention to any child that is placed  their home.  They work hard with all partnering agencies to provide any services that is needed for the children that come into their home.  They have provided care to many infants that come into care up to age 5 years old.  they adopted their daughter who was placed in their home as an infant.  Thank you to Kelsie and Justin Gregware for being a loving family for out children in need.

Introducing Julia

Julia Rudden has been a licensed foster parent for three years.  She opened her home and her heart to two brothers, who resided with her for two years before reunifying with their mother just a short while ago.  While the siblings were in her care, Julia never hesitated to advocate for their best interest.  Ms. Rudden has worked successfully as a member of the professional team and always keeps great contact with the individuals involved with the children in the home.  Julia has demonstrated her strong will, passion and perseverance over the years.  Her commitment to the children in care is refreshing and her upbeat personality is one to be admired.



Introducing Melanie

Melanie has been a licensed foster parent for a year and has been able to stabilize a sibling group of 4 children for her entire time of being licensed.  Melanie is constantly working with the service providers and community members to give the children the best opportunities available to them to find healing and peace through troubling times.  She has made the children's journey through foster care one full of tender care and love.  Melanie has opened up her home to a wide age range of children to be able to keep siblings together.  Melanie is a great catalyst for family reunification and advocates for the best interest of the children in the home.  We are grateful to work with Melanie as a top-notch foster parent!

Introducing Elizabeth Couch

Elizabeth has been a foster parent since October of 2018 and has made every child placed in her care feel welcomed and accepted.  Elizabeth has demonstrated a devotion to making a difference in the lives of the children that she cares for.  Ms. Couch provides all the children placed in her home with the opportunities that they may not be accustomed to.  It has been a pleasure working with Elizabeth.  Thank you for all that you do and love you provide to the children.



Introducing Melissa and Stan

Melissa and Stan initially intended to become licensed foster parents so they could care for their relatives from another state.  They soon learned of the dire need for traditional foster homes in the local community and inquired of the agency if they could help.  The answer was of course a resounding "yes".  Since being licensed, the family has provided short term care for 12 foster children and has recently committed to caring long term for a sibling group of two.  The have passion for keeping siblings together and for meeting children where they are.  We are very thankful that have heeded the call to open their home and hearts to our communities children.

Introducing Kimberly

Kimberly has been a foster parent since 2017 and has always provided excellent care to children placed with her.  She has also always demonstrated diligence and competence when working with birth parents.  Kimberly has maintained a relationship with parents even after reunification and has even been asked to be a Godmother for two of these children.  Kimberly is a wonderful example of foster parents providing safe and nurturing homes to our children while meeting their developmental needs which include fostering the bonds, they have with their families.  Thank you Kimberly!



Introducing Monica and Ian

After both serving in the military, Monica and Ian thought the next thing they should do is serve the children in their own community through foster care! Ian grew up in a big family and has always been a big kid at heart. Monica and Ian have been able to stabilize a pre-teen girl for their entire time of being foster parents, and have welcomed her into their family with open arms. They have been able to help the child through the many stages of grief found in foster care by working with community providers to get the child the best services possible. Monica and Ian are dedicated and focused on making the children that come into their home comfortable and safe. This family is filled with fun and excitement that children love to be a part of!

Introducing Carolyn Webb

Carolyn Webb is a licensed foster parent with Camelot Community Care.  Carolyn has provided a loving home for 2 foster children as well as respite care for children as needed.  Carolyn provides a loving home for the children that have been placed there and in a short period of time made a lifelong lasting impact for both foster children.  Thank you, Carolyn, for everything you have done for the children in our community!



The Kafka Family

Though being licensed a few short months, Stephanie and Brian Kafka jumped feet first into their role as foster parents.  They worked assiduously to be licensed and accepted their first placement soon after.  Despite being faced with challenges, they have not let that deter them.  Instead, their commitment to children has only deepened.  They have recently joined the ranks of medical foster parents.  We are truly blessed to have them as part of our professional team.


Introducing the Rowe Family

Sandra and William Rowe have been licensed since 2015 through Lutheran Services.  They have been such a valuable member of the professional team.  They have had a long history of assisting young adults transition into adulthood and are still welcoming them into their home as a part of their family.  It is with great honor to nominate this family for Foster Friday as they deserve all the recognition.



Introducing the Akkala Family

Julie Akkala is a perfect example of someone who never holds back from taking those complicated hard cases.  She is open and transparent with her foster care experience which is admirable by many incoming foster families.  As Julie is a single caregiver, it is no easy task to bring a child into your home and love them while supporting their case, but she does this with greatness.  She lives by displaying an example of compassion and sacrifice to provide the best for all.  Thank you Julie for all you do for the children!


Introducing the Brabham family

Cheryl Brabham has been a foster parent for the last 11 years in Charlotte County.  Cheryl has taken many teen girls throughout the years and has provided care for children that have turned 18 in her home.  Cheryl provides the children with guidance and life lessons as they transition into adults.  Throughout the years of fostering Cheryl has provided a loving home to over 130 children.  Thank you, Cheryl for all you do for the kids of your community when they need you most.


Introducing the Bertsch Family

Michelle and Kevin Bertsch have been licensed foster parents since 2014.  Over the years, the family has exuded their passion for caring for sibling groups.  The family regularly goes above and beyond to make sure that siblings can stay together.  The family has profound understanding of how much more traumatic it can be for a child foster care when they are also separated from their sibling(s).  They have a reputation for working well with biological families and have had many successful reunifications.  Michelle and Kevin also maintain several relationships with past families on an ongoing basis.  they thoroughly enjoy being a source of mentorship and support and are motivated by the success of those reunifications.  In addition to caring for siblings, the family has also adopted a teen from foster care and are open to providing permanency for other children in the future as well.  Michelle and Kevin are active members in their community and regularly share the need for foster homes with friends, family, church members, and others.  We are so lucky to be able to partner with such strong advocates for our children and families!



Introducing the Reardon Family

Terry and Sharen Reardon have been licensed with Camelot for the past year and have opened their home to over 25 children.  The Reardon family provides a loving environment, mentoring, and guidance for every child placed in their home.  They provide the children with an extension of family and maintain bonds with every child that has been placed in their care by encouraging and facilitating relationships between the children and biological family.  Thank you for everything you do for the children in our community!


The Kmetz Family

The Kmetz family have exceeded all expectations and have become great advocates for foster children and birth parents in our community.  Stacie has worked with pediatric patients and has seen the need for safe and loving homes for many children.  The Kmetz come from large families and being around children is second nature to them.  They wanted to give back to their community and have been fostering for four years.  Stacie and Rick had their first foster child at 8 months, and it was amazing experience for them to see him grow and thrive in a safe environment.  They worked with his birth mother to help with feeding, proper food and basic parenting skills.  The Kmetz feel blessed to work with many wonderful team members to enrich the lives of these precious children.  They will continue assisting with respite and are thankful to do what they been called to do.


Introducing the Benson Family

Erik and Angella have been foster parents since 2016.  They are always willing to help with emergency and also respite placements.  Within this years, Erik and Angella were willing to change their home from respite only to a traditional home to be able to help care for a male teenager that needed a loving home.  The caregivers are willing to work with all members of the professional team to ensure any child placed with them is receiving the best services.  Erik and Angella are wonderful to work with and we are glad to have them on our team!


Introducing "Vala"

Vala has been licensed since 2016 through Lutheran Services.  She has provided excellent care to the children placed in her home and has given them a safe and loving environment to flourish.  She has demonstrated her commitment and sacrifice by continuing to open her heart and home to children in need.  It is such a blessing to work with her.  Thank , Vala, for everything you do!


Frances and Harry Jennings have been licensed foster parents for over 25 years, and they have also adopted.  They have had countless children in their home over their years as foster parents, and they treat them all as their own.  Frances and Harry feel that fostering brings them joy by providing love and attention to the children that come into their home.  They work hard with all partnering agencies to provide any services needed for the children they care for.  They were medical foster parents for many years and more recently have provided care mostly for infants as they also care for their own disabled daughter.  Thank you to Frances and Harry Jennings for all you do for our children in need!


The Vernon family is no stranger to helping others.  Bethany is a case manager and Adam has also worked with DCF directly for many years.  The family has no limits when it comes to loving children and families through the toughest parts of their lives.  Bethany and Adam are advocates for children and families through the toughest parts of their lives.  Bethany and Adam are advocates for helping others in need, through keeping siblings together, providing emergency care for children and also long term placements.  Before fostering children, Bethany and Adam were missionaries' in Africa.  They have truly gone to the ends of the earth to bring hope to the hopeless and they continue to bring opportunities for success for kids in foster care and their biological parents' efforts to establish a healthy lifestyle to be reunified with their children.  As biological, adopted and foster parents.  Bethany and Adam have dedicated their lives to nurturing and supporting children to be the best they can be and to achieve their dreams without any holdups.


The Hollman family has been licensed foster parents since June of 2014.  Guy and Carolyn have taken in many teen males since becoming licensed and treat each child as part of their own family.  The Hollman's provide guidance and mentoring for the children that come into their home to help them in their transitions to adulthood.  The family maintains open lines of communication with the youth that are no longer in their home to be a support systems as needed.  Thank you Guy and Carolyn for your attributes to the professional team and all you do for the children in care.


Introducing the Bork Family

Amber and Robert Bork have been licensed foster parents since March 2018.  They have demonstrated a commitment to caring for children in care until reunification or other permanency can be achieved.  The Bork family has taken in siblings and successfully transitioned children back to living with their parents.  They advocate on behalf of children in their home to ensure that they receive all the help and services they need.  Amber and Robert Bork are an asset to the child welfare professional team!






Introducing the Duncan Family

Heather and Paul Duncan have been licensed foster parents for the past 6 years.  They are strong advocates for children that come into care.  They have had many children in their home and they treat all of them as their own.  They feel that fostering is their way of giving back to the community.  They are devoted to making a difference in the lives of children they care for by providing the children with opportunities that they may not be accustomed to.  They work hard with the biological parents and act as mentors when needed.  The foster parents work with the agency to keep siblings together and they are open to providing a child a permanent home if reunification is not an option.  The Duncan's have adopted two of the children who have been placed in their home.  Their love for children and providing a safe and loving home are what makes them continue to foster.



Introducing the Weninger Family

Roxie Weninger has been a licensed foster mother since 2014.  She is willing to take babies and their siblings into her home.  Roxie makes every child that comes into her home feel loved and always makes sure they are taken care of and their needs are met in her care.  Roxie works very well with biological parents and families.  She is always willing to continue a mentoring relationship even after reunification occurs.  Thank you Roxie for all you do!



Introducing the Day Family

The Day's continually provide a loving home for all children that have been placed in their care.  They are willing to help with any respite care need.   They take in large siblings groups and have even accepted children as non-relative caregivers to ensure the sibling groups would remain together.  They work well with all members of the professional team as well as with the biological families of the children to ensure their bond remains strong.  They have given a forever home to two children and are in the process for another child.  Thank you Amber and Jessie for all you do.



Introducing the Murphy Family

Roxanne and Bear have been licensed foster parents with Children's Network since 2017.  In the 2 years of being licensed, Roxanne and Bear have provided care for 7 children, as well as assisting fellow families by providing short term care.  Roxanne and Bear demonstrate what it means to work with birth families to achieve reunification and permanency.  The family also continues to be wonderful mentors to our families.  Thank you, Roxanne and Bear for opening your home and for you warm hearts.  We appreciate you for your service to our kids and families in the community!




Introducing the Hazeltine Family

Donna and Danny Hazeltine have been licensed foster parents for almost 4 years, yet it seems like a lifetime due to the amount of commitment and assistance they have provided for our children in care.  Donna and Danny have exhibited their passion for keeping sibling groups together, as they've had multiple sets in their home at one time, along with their 4 biological children.  The family has successfully reunified numerous sibling groups and have served as outstanding mentors for birth families.

There aren't enough words to describe the dedication this family has to the foster care system.  Their cool, calm attitude along with their outstanding communication, and understanding of trauma have made the Hazeltine family exemplary members of the professional team.  It is with great pleasure and honor to work with this family.  Donna and Danny, the Children's Network of SWFL wants to thank you and give you the highest accolades for going above and beyond the call of duty.  The impact you have had on our children never goes unnoticed and will last a lifetime!



Introducing the Lane Family

Sarah and Justin have been licensed foster parents since April 2016.  They first decided to open their hearts and home to foster care as they saw a huge need for children in care.  Since they have been licensed, they have gone above and beyond for the children placed in their home.  They have been exceptional with keeping siblings together and always putting the children's best interests in mind.  They are open to mentoring relationships with biological families, helping with transportation, and just representing what it truly means to foster children in need.  Sarah and Justin are humble, loving, caring, generous and kind - even their biological children have bene involved in helping children in the last few years and we are excited to see how much more they will accomplish with their never-ending gracious attitude.



Introducing the Wright-Deweese Family

The Wright-Deweese family has been licensed since 2015.  They are an asset to the child welfare team as they have a deep understanding and respect for preserving the child's family connections and relationship.  They have fostered a total of 12 children since being initially licensed, three of which were adopted by the family and have a forever home.  They are truly dedicated to the children in their home and provide them with such a loving and open environment that the children truly thrive in.  It is a pleasure to work with the Wright-Deweese family as they are truly valued as foster parents and members of the professional team.  It is with great honor to nominate this family for Foster Friday as they deserve all the recognition.