Letters to the Editor

Many kids need a foster parent to step up on their behalf | Letter to the editor

As kids in our community are back in school, we urge you to remember that there are 1,400 children in Manatee, Sarasota, and DeSoto counties that are involved in the child welfare judicial system.

These children have experienced numerous school changes when they were removed from their parents, moved to a new county, or changed foster homes. Often, they will face this “first day” experience more than once. The lives of children in foster care are full of unknown caregivers, homes, and schools. Academic investment is difficult for a child when they are unattached to the caregivers and getting used to new surroundings they find themselves in.

These children have one primary need that can ease this transition and every other one they face during this unpredictable time in their lives: one caring adult. Foster parents stand in the gap for these kids to provide a sense of safety, comfort, and support. There is healing and redemptive power in an adult saying, “I will care for you”.

Southwest Florida continues to face a shortage of this vital resource for OUR community’s children. We think they are superheroes, but they are regular people with a heart to help, even just one child at a time. They help with meeting a teacher, driving them to the first day of school, checking on their day, helping with homework, encouraging success. While these may sound like ordinary matters, they have a massive impact on the success of these children.

National Youth Advocate Program’s call is to the everyday person from any walk of life. Our hope for Manatee and surrounding communities is to be an example statewide of what investment in children looks like.

Please reach out for more information- 941-780-2169 - nyap.org- Facebook @National Youth Advocate Program –Sarasota

Meredith Frees