Foster Care Residential Homes
If children are unable to be placed with a relative or family friend, government case workers will place the child in an appropriate foster care situation. Foster care can take place in individual houses or private or public group homes. Group homes are an effective way to treat children whose needs will be best addressed in a structured environment. FRIENDS currently operates five group homes in the Central Florida area that provide foster children between the ages of 6-17, with a safe, nurturing home. Each home has full-time, live-in house parents who are responsible for ensuring that the children are exposed to a healthy family environment. Each home is also assigned a Case Manager who has the responsibility of helping the children develop daily living skills and a therapist who meets with the children on a weekly basis to address their emotional needs. FRIENDS continually assesses each child in our care to ensure their complex needs are being met. Based on our assessments, we will make recommendations to the child’s case worker concerning their care, provided services, and continued placement in the group home.
Research has consistently demonstrated that children greatly benefit from caring relationships with adults. One way to establish a positive, stable adult-child relationship is to pair children with a regular mentor. Children in a mentor-mentee relationship are more likely complete their schooling and less likely to use drugs and to engage in dangerous social behavior. Additionally, mentors provide guidance for children facing normal life challenges. Children that are facing the prospect of studying for their first big exam, buying their first car, or getting their first job may not know how to navigate these new and unfriendly waters. Mentors can provide practical advice for children facing these challenges. By helping children through these everyday situations, mentors can increase a child’s self-esteem and improve their ability to set and achieve various life goals. Friends of Children and Families’ Mentoring program is committed to turning “hurting into healing” for abused and neglected children in Central Florida. Children receive weekly contact with a mentor, who encourages them to discover their personal best. This support restores hope and shapes the destiny of children, whose self-esteem has been shattered. Children in this program will improve academically and behaviorally, set goals, and develop the courage to dream of a brighter future. FRIENDS’s Mentors are carefully screened and matched with foster care children who need support and guidance from a positive role model. This positive partnership provides an invaluable experience to foster children who have often have negative interactions with adults.
Comprehensive Behavioral Health Assessments
FRIENDS provides Comprehensive Behavioral Health Assessments (CBHA) for children in the child welfare system. The completion of a CBHA helps to ensure that the social, emotional, and academic needs of a child in foster care are being addressed, and that the child is receiving appropriate services.
FRIENDS provides In-Home Counseling for children and families in the community. Friends of Children and Families is a strong advocate of the “Systems of Care” approach with its emphasis on child, family and community involvement, early intervention and prevention methods, and use of evidence based interventions. We target issues such as negative behavior at home or school, poor school attendance, poor academic performance, or involvement in the Juvenile Justice System. Our goal is to help children and their families strengthen their social, emotional, or decision making skills.
According to the Center for Disease Control, caregivers of individuals with physical or mental impairments often pay a high price for their labor of love. Many experience extreme emotional or physical stress and cannot find time for themselves or their families. Additionally, a high percentage of caregivers report a decline in their own health. The National Respite Network highly recommends that caregivers use respite services before they feel overtired or exhausted. However, only 12% of caregivers ever take advantage respite services. Utilizing respite care services on a regular basis can provide massive stress relief, restore energy, and promote balance in the caregiver’s life. Friends of Children and Families, Inc. Respite Program provides intermittent, short-term and hourly relief for the families in Seminole County, Florida by taking care of an individual with Emotional, Behavioral or Mental Health Challenges in the home while care-givers are given the opportunity to handle errands, doctor’s visits or other activities. Respite Care Services consists of an assigned team of two respite care workers that provide a minimum of three hours of care a session and a maximum of ten hours per week in the home. The biggest advantages to in-home respite care are familiarity and convenience. Our professional staff members interact with a child in their normal environment while also learning family routines, dietary requirements and medical needs without inconveniencing the family with a strange setting. Friends of Children and Families, Inc Respite Program is a partnership with Community Based Care of Central Florida.
Mobile Response Unit
The Mobile Response Unit would provide a short-term, mobile, on-site, face to face intervention for the youth and their parent or caregiver, with the goal of stabilizing the situation until additional services could be put in place. The Mobile Response Unit is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.