TALLAHASSEE—The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), together with its community partners, have joined the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to celebrate foster families during National Foster Care Month. State Park passes will be distributed to 15,000 families throughout Florida to celebrate foster parents and the tremendous call they have answered to serve the community’s most vulnerable children.
“Our foster parents make their hearts and homes available to frightened, vulnerable children day and night and surround them with love and normalcy during times of crisis,” DCF Secretary Mike Carroll said. “This is a way to thank them for their generosity and also provide a wonderful opportunity for these families to come together to reflect and celebrate their journey together.”
The partnership builds on an annual program that encourages foster children and their families to engage in outdoor recreation and supports them in the journey to lead more normal lives and create lasting memories with their foster families. Park passes will be distributed to foster parents throughout the state by Community-Based Care (CBC) lead agencies and local DCF offices.
“The Department of Environmental Protection is proud to join DCF and its partners to support the important role foster parents play improving the lives of Florida’s children and communities,” DEP Secretary Jon Steverson said. “Our award-winning state parks are a great place for families to spend time together and enjoy some of Florida’s most treasured natural resources.”
Foster parents change lives and offer hope to children who have been removed from their homes by no fault of their own, but because they have experienced abuse or neglect and cannot safely remain with their parents. CBC lead agencies throughout the state work to recruit, license and match foster parents with children in need of short and long-term homes. Each CBC works to address the unique needs of their communities in recruiting foster parents.
Florida’s 174 state parks, trails and historic sites inspire residents and visitors with recreational opportunities and scenic beauty that help strengthen families, educate children, expand local economies and foster community pride. With 163 state parks and 11 state trails, families are attracted by the beaches, freshwater springs, historic sites and variety of recreational opportunities available.