Foster Friday

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Introducing the Walker Family

The Walker family has been licensed since 2018 and are in the process of their first year of relicensing.  The Walkers have jumped in feet first and opened their home to several children.  They have been an integral part of assisting with transitioning siblings and supported a family to achieve permanency through reunification.  The Walker's report that they enjoy being foster parents and making a difference.  The Walker's have been a great family to work with and we look forward to working with them in the future.

Introducing the Blauer Family

Cathy and Michael have been foster parents since November 2018 and have taken placement of six children and provided respite care for several other children in the past year.  The family started as being non-relative caregivers to a sibling group which expanded their interest into helping other children that were involved in the system.  Michael and Cathy made the decision to open their home and hearts to the children in need.  The family works with all area service providers to ensure the children in their care are getting all their needs met.  They continually demonstrate their commitment an love to the children and have been a pleasure to work with as part of the professional team.  Thank you Cathy and Michael, for all you do for the children in care.

 

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Introducing the Graham Family

Allison and David have always loved having a big family!  When they have seen a need in their community in the past, they have made it a point to help where they can.  When they found out about the rapid need for foster parents, Allison and David knew that they have to dive right in to help kids in need.  The entire family jumped on board and has been helping stabilize placements of children for the past year. Allison and David work very closely with biological parents and relatives to support reunification efforts.  They make it a priority to have consistent communication and provide updates on the child as they come to all parties of the child welfare system.  As seasoned parents, Allison and David have learned to care for all of their children’s individual needs and balances individual time and attention for all that the children need.  They are strong advocates for the children in their home to grow into successful young adults and they instill high morals and values which help guide the children to be the best they can be.  It is an honor to work with the Graham family and we are excited to see all that they accomplish as foster parents!

Introducing Stacie Germain

Stacie has been a licensed foster parent since June 2018.  She is committed to being children's last placement before reunification.  She has accepted several sibling groups into her home to maintain sibling bonds for foster children.  She ensures that children in her home have opportunities for normalcy.  She is an advocate for the children in her home, and she supports the children as well as their birth families.  Stacie is a valuable member of the child welfare team!

 

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Introducing the Ramos Family

Karen and Jose Ramos have been licensed foster parents for six years.  They provide a safe and loving home to any child that comes into care.  They love children and love making the children that come into their home feel safe and like family.  The are devoted to making a difference in the lives of the children by keeping the siblings connection together as they have provided a safe and loving home to a variety of sibling groups that are between the ages of 0 - 5 years old.  Karen and Jose are both retired and can dedicate their time and attention to any child that is placed in the home.  They work hard with all partnering agencies to provide any services that are needed for the children that come into their home.  Karen has worked in a daycare center and is able to assist when a child has delays and advocates for services to help the child in the future.  Thank you Karen and Jose Ramos for being a loving family for our children in need.

 

Introducing the Caruso Sabio-Membreno Family

Derek and Melissa have been licensed foster parents for under 1 year.  They are currently providing care for a sibling group of two active boys.  The children were separated in two different homes and the family opened their door to get the young men back together.  These children were their second and third placements and the family is working with the boys to address all their needs.  The boys were behind developmentally, and the family is working with them to ensure they catch up and remain on track.  They have made a lifelong impact on these young men in the time they have been there.  Thank you, Derek and Mellissa for all you have done.

 

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Introducing the Arango Family

Sophia and Allen have been licensed as foster parents since December 2017.  They are dedicated to providing foster children with a safe home until reunification can occur.  They have proven adept at dealing with behavioral challenges in younger children.  The family has increased their capacity so they could accommodate more children who need placement.  They spend hours working with the children in their home to address their developmental delays.  Sophia and Allen are devoted foster parents!

Introducing the Shaw Family

Daniel and Derrick have been licensed for 2 years.  They have provided a safe and nurturing environment in which the children have flourished.  Daniel and Derrick have been strong advocates for the children in their care and consistently ensure all their needs are met.  The family has worked as members of the professional team and participated in staffing's and court hearings.  Derrick and Daniel have demonstrated their commitment to and love for the children.  They are currently overjoyed with the recent adoption of two boys.  The family plans to continue fostering, and we look forward to working with them for years to come.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

 

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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!

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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.

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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!

 

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.