We offer something few of our kids and families have known: hope.
Too many children in our community understand just one thing: fear. They've suffered brutalities of abuse. Pain of neglect. They've been let down time and time again. They've lost any sense of belonging. They don't know how to trust.
And then they find Children's Home Society of Florida.
Thousands of kids and teens come to us every year, hurt and confused by their past yet fearful and uncertain about the future. They rely on us for protection, healing, comfort and guidance.
Some come to us in crisis, looking for safety and hope at Safe Harbor, Palm Beach County's only emergency shelter.
Others arrive in our care after suffering abuse or neglect in their own homes. Many find love and acceptance with local foster families eager to embrace our kids as their own. Some find security in one of our group homes, where they're welcomed into a "family" nurtured by compassionate staff members who help them in their journey toward healing and encourage their goals and dreams.
We even have a home just for teen moms and their babies, where we help young moms learn how to safely care for their babies while pursuing their educational and career goals so they can become healthy, self-sufficient families.
What happens next?
While we care for kids, we also work with their parents to overcome challenges that once threatened the children's safety. Through counseling, parenting groups and services in the home, more families become strong and stable. And, many times, kids can safely return home.
Sometimes, though, kids can never return home. When this happens, our adoption team works hard to find families eager to welcome these children into their hearts and homes forever. Hundreds of local kids have found forever families through the Heart Gallery of Palm Beach County, which features beautiful portraits of our children and offers families a glimpse into the hearts of kids longing for a place to call "home."
Through our Adoption Resource Center, we also provide ongoing support and counseling services to families who've been touched by adoption with Children's Home Society of Florida.
Life after 18
Sometimes, teens turn 18 while they're still in foster care. The day they turn 18, Florida considers them legal adults, responsible for every aspect of their well-being. School. Careers. Housing. Transportation. Food.
It's a lot for any 18-year-old to handle. For young adults who've never really had a solid support system and positive role model to guide them, it's practically impossible.
Fortunately, they have us. Through Project 18, we teach teens how to make responsible decisions. We help them set and reach educational and career goals. We teach them how to find safe, affordable housing and transportation. And we teach them basic skills many of us take for granted - proper hygiene, house cleaning, budgeting, grocery shopping.
We give these teens a chance to succeed, to pursue meaningful, productive lives.
Help for families in crisis
Crises happen. For some families, they happen a lot. Fortunately, we're here to help. Our experienced counselors understand how to compassionately work with families so they can overcome challenges, improve communication and learn how to appropriately handle stress, anxiety and other strong feelings.
We also have a mentoring program just for kids growing up in single-family homes. Volunteers truly committed to kids' well-being provide guidance and extra support so kids and teens can have more positive role models in their lives.
Starting fresh: Helping families raise safe, healthy kids
Expecting a baby can be really overwhelming! Especially if you were raised in an abusive home. Or if you're in a violent relationship. Or battling an addiction.
Through our Bridges program, expectant and new parents receive help, guidance and education so they can raise healthy kids in safe environments. As they continue with the program, we encourage parents to nurture their kids to full potential so they're ready and excited to learn when they enter school.
Our goal: to prevent abuse and neglect for more innocent kids, to break the vicious cycle in more Palm Beach County families.