Success Stories

The Lowe Family

The Lowe Family

Joseph and Rachel Lowe have been licensed for less than a year and within their first week of fostering they received their first placement of twin toddlers. From the very beginning they made contact with the children’s birth family to set up communication and visitation. They treat the boys as if they are their own and they take them with them on all of their family vacations.

 

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Rae Family

Rae Family

Natalie started her fostering journey back in March 2021. She shares, "My reason for fostering goes back to being raised by a single, wheelchair bound warrior of a mother. She could have given me up, but she raised me from that chair very well. I grew up with her fostering relationships on my behalf to make sure all of my needs were met."

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Buzzella Family

Buzzella Family

In 2019, the Buzzella Family started their foster care journey and they have been instrumental in strengthening the bonds of a separated sibling group.

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Hobbs Family

Hobbs Family

It's Reunification Month, we're celebrating the efforts of our child welfare professionals, foster families and community members that help support the reunification of families.
 
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The Shaeffer Family

The Shaeffer Family

Meet the Shaeffer Family who started their foster care journey this year! The Shaeffer's have taken in two 4-year old's with special needs, which made them very difficult to place. Both kids required to have many specialist appointments in which Michelle initiated and scheduled. Michelle has been open to all help to stabilize these children in her home. They are going through the enhanced foster care classes because they desire to learn more on how to help the children in their home. The Shaeffer's are a great family and amazing advocates for our kids in care!
 

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The Calderon Family

The Calderon Family

Meet Elivanesa Calderon who was licensed just 4 months ago and received her very first placement two days after being licensed. She jumped right in like a pro and researched daycares, took the siblings to get the necessary immunizations to start daycare and immediately reached out to the birth parents to set up visitation. She put together a last minute birthday party for one of the children whose birthday was week after being placed with her. Elivanesa has such a big heart for children and she advocates for their needs every day.
 
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The Stewart Family

The Stewart Family

Meet Jaime and Paul Stewart! In 2016, they began their foster journey by becoming a medical foster home. This awesome family advocate for their children, co-parented, taken the children to all of their medical appointments and have also adopted 3 of their kids! 

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The Maxey Family

The Maxey Family

Meet the Maxey Family! Four years ago, Emily and Keith started their foster care journey. This family has welcomed teens in their family and the teens LOVE them as their parents! This amazing couple ensures that the kids get all that they need so they can be successful now and later in life!
 
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Barbara Wade

Barbara Wade

Meet Ms. Barbara Wade! Take a moment a read her story and what inspired her to become a foster parent.
 
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The Pierson Family

The Pierson Family

About 7 years ago, the Pierson Family began their fostering journey to give back to the community and help kids in need! They are actively advocating for their kids, positively impacting the system of care, mentoring and continuing to support the children and their families after they've been reunified!

 

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Foster Family Appreciation Week

Foster Family Appreciation Week

It's Foster Family Appreciation Week! In Florida, the second week in February is dedicated to celebrating our state’s foster families who provide safe and loving homes for children + teens who have experienced abuse and neglect. Foster families are changing the lives of our most vulnerable children and making a difference in their communities! THANK YOU to all of our foster families for all you do for children & families!
 

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Barbara & Barney Prestridge

Barbara & Barney Prestridge

The Prestridge Family has started their foster care journey about 8 years ago and they have fostered about 100 children! Read their story here.

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Rachel & Sean Lyttle

Rachel & Sean Lyttle

Rachel and Sean have been major supporters of uniting sibling groups and co-parenting with the biological families of their kids. Read more about their story.

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Sharon & Eric Haller

Sharon & Eric Haller

Meet the Haller Family! One of our foster families who are always willing to take in sibling groups and teens – our greatest need! Read more about their story.

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Violet & Ronald Sims

Violet & Ronald Sims

Meet the Sims Family! For over 13 years, Violet and Ronald have opened their heart and home to youth in their community and have even adopted 6 of their children. The Sims do an excellent job being a support to the children in their care and their families. Their partnership with the children's parents and families have led to successful reunifications and they still stay in touch and visit to this day.
 

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Ashley & Kelly Grogan

Ashley & Kelly Grogan

Ashley & Kelly began their foster care journey back in 2017. Ashley shares, “We had 3 young biological children at home when we started our foster care journey. Kel and I had lots of conversations about how fostering would affect our family - we worried about how it might change our children. Be assured, foster care will change you. You cannot experience the things of foster care and stay the same. We have all become more compassionate and empathetic individuals.”

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Foster Family of the Month: Hargrove

Foster Family of the Month: Hargrove

Meet the Hargroves, our Foster Family of the Month!

In 2018, Maria & Daniel began their foster care journey and decided that they only wanted to foster teens (our greatest need)! Since the beginning, they have been very involved in co-parenting, facilitating visits with bioparents and making sure the teens are able to stay connected with family. They champion and advocate for every teen that comes through their home, including the 15 and 16 year olds that are currently with them.

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Foster Care Success Story: Amanda Cruce

Foster Care Success Story: Amanda Cruce

As a foster/adoptive parent, Amanda Cruce has welcomed more than 50 children from Florida’s foster care system into her home. Most have been teenagers. She learned early on that loving foster children as your own kids and then seeing them return to their biological family is a complicated experience, but that’s the goal of fostering. 

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Megan & Alex Delfino

Megan & Alex Delfino

It's Foster Family Appreciation Week! This week we are highlighting just a few of our 250 amazing foster families. Meet Megan & Alex Delfino!

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Foster Family Appreciation Week

Foster Family Appreciation Week

It's Foster Family Appreciation Week! We have an amazing network of 250 foster families in Polk, Hardee, and Highlands counties and we are excited to highlight how they make a difference in the lives of our children & families every day!
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Kassandra & James Fields

Kassandra & James Fields

It's Foster Family Appreciation Week! This week we are highlighting just a few of our 250 amazing foster families. Meet Kassandra & James Fields!

 
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Lauren & Winston Hackett

Lauren & Winston Hackett

It's Foster Family Appreciation Week! This week we are highlighting just a few of our 250 amazing foster families. Meet Lauren and Winston Hackett.

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Corey & Kyla Rogala

Corey & Kyla Rogala

It's Foster Family Appreciation Week! This week we are highlighting just a few of our 250 amazing foster families. Meet Corey and Kyla Rogala.

 
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Dustin & Beth Ann Prickett

Dustin & Beth Ann Prickett

It's Foster Family Appreciation Week! This week we are highlighting just a few of our 250 amazing foster families. Meet Dustin and Beth Ann Prickett. 

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ECHO Ministries: Meeting the Need

ECHO Ministries: Meeting the Need

What started as 3 families that were interested in becoming foster caregivers from Lakeland's Harvest Church has now developed into a ministry that meets the immediate needs of children being removed from their homes for abuse and neglect on a weekly basis. We love to see our community partners, like ECHO (Everyday Christians Helping Orphans) Ministries Florida, being highlighted for the amazing service they provide to our children and families! Thank you, ECHO for being a part of our community that cares! 

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Rudolph Stories: Meet the Stantons

Rudolph Stories: Meet the Stantons

Meet the Stanton Family! Check out their story on how our community has made a difference in their family through the Rudolph Round-Up Toy Drive!

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Lori Wasson

Lori Wasson

Lori Wasson was licensed on October 18, 2011 for one child, but when she was asked if she could take two in order to keep sisters together, she quickly agreed. Read More
Andrea and Charles Mills

Andrea and Charles Mills

"It’s not just about helping the children, the children impact our lives as well. My family is multi-cultured..."Read More
Larry and Brenda Wenning

Larry and Brenda Wenning

When Larry and Brenda Wenning decided to become foster parents in 2007, they intended on being licensed for teens and were willing to help with up to five youth. Since their own children had grown up and moved away, they wanted their four bedroom house filled again. Read More
Toni & Mike Bauer

Toni & Mike Bauer

Toni and Mike Bauer are an example of going the extra mile for a child. When a four-month-old was placed in their home they immediately began working with the biological father who had almost completed his case plan.

 

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Helping Children Heal: Co-Parenting & Mentoring

Helping Children Heal: Co-Parenting & Mentoring

Best friends Maggie Wojtylak and Deanna Johnson have been co-parenting and mentoring biological parents since their home was licensed March 25, 2008. Currently, they are serving as mentors to a birth mother of a child placed in their home and have been supervising visits with her for almost a year.

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Finding Permanency:  Meet the Lecza's

Finding Permanency: Meet the Lecza's

The Lecza family had a child placed in their home on a Monday morning in February of 2012. That same evening, the child experienced an accident and broke his femur...

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Unlocking Futures:  Meet Ms. Mixon

Unlocking Futures: Meet Ms. Mixon

Theresa Mixon has been fostering since 1998 and is currently fostering two children. She has a 17 year old male that has been residing in her home for two years. Ms. Mixon believes in ensuring the children are actively involved in community activities and athletics...

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It was so valuable to hear the stories and anecdotes. They took “fostering” from theoretical, a mental exercise, to something I could imagine myself living. Fear of the unknown can be a huge inhibitor, but these classes helped me feel more prepared.