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The Growing Need for Foster Families in Florida

Florida Weekly
Children's Network of Southwest Florida Staff

The number of kids in Florida who need foster families is growing at an alarming rate, with a nearly 40% increase in the number of children who have been removed from their parents compared to five years ago. According to the Florida Department of Children and Families, the rise is mostly due to higher rates of drug use, and the ongoing opioid epidemic. Children in Out-of-Home care are kids who have been removed from their parents or primary caregivers and placed by the state with friends or relatives, in group homes, residential treatment facilities, or foster care families. Right now in Florida there are more than 24,000 children in Out-of-Home care -- that’s nearly 7,00 more kids than five years ago.

We’re joined by a panel of guests to explore this issue: Evan Williams is a reporter for Florida Weekly, who recently wrote a feature story on this issue; Nadereh Salim is CEO of the Children’s Network of Southwest Florida; Patrice Cunningham is senior Special Projects Manager with the Family Mentor Program at the United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades & Okeechobee Counties; Kara Jansen is a Foster and Adoptive Mom; and Kurt Kelly is CEO of the Florida Coalition of Children.