The Zebra Coalition, a Central Florida-based network of organizations that provide aid to LGBTQ youth, is offering foster parenting informational sessions for those who are wondering how to become a foster parent.
Robin Daily, community engagement and coalition manager of the Zebra Coalition, said during these informational sessions, staff from the Zebra Coalition and their partners Devereux and Embrace Families, as well as current foster families, will answer any questions that attendees might have about the process.
“There’s a large amount of kids that need help,” Daily said. “If there is a family who is willing to foster LGBTQ youth, then there is a large opportunity for them.”
Announced in a Facebook post on Feb. 17, the Zebra Coalition announced three different dates for the informational sessions: Feb. 21 at 6:30 p.m., March 9 at 11 a.m. and March 20 at 6:30 p.m.
“Every day in Florida children are removed from their homes because their parents are not able to provide the love and care they need – sometimes because they didn’t learn good parenting skills; sometimes because of substance abuse, mental illness, and domestic violence; sometimes because of all of the above,” the Facebook post read. “As a foster parent, you can give a child the love and security they need. You can play a significant role in helping families heal and reunite and, when that is not possible, you can help them transition to a new home and a new family. YOU can help a child feel loved and supported.”
Devereux and Embrace Families are both Central-Florida based programs that focus on children — Devereux works to provide psychological and therapeutic aid to children and young adults who have experienced trauma, while Embrace Families works with foster families to give homes to youth who suffered from neglect or abuse.
Embrace Families, previously known as Community Based Care of Central Florida, recently changed its name in order to reinforce its mission statement.
“We wanted a name that speaks to the heart of how we embrace families and provide them support as they overcome difficult situations,” said Glen Casel, president and CEO of Embrace Families, in a news release. “As a community, we all have a role in caring for vulnerable children. Our goal is to provide a stable path allowing them to flourish and thrive.”
With national child abuse prevention month in April, and national foster awareness month in May, Daily said that the months leading up to them need to be dedicated to education and heightened awareness.
“There’s a reason to highlight [the informational sessions] in February and March,” she said. “It’s just a matter of gaining an awareness, you know?”