Gauntt Family- 4KIDS Adoptive Family
4KIDS Southwest Florida is bringing hope, homes, and healing to kids and families across Southwest Florida. 4KIDS began in Broward County in 1997, and in the years to come expanded to Palm Beach County and four Treasure Coast counties. As 4KIDS considered future communities to serve, the needs across Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, and Lee counties stood out. In 2022, 693 babies, children, and teens entered foster care across these five counties. Of those children in foster care, 134 of them had to live in shelters or group homes because there weren’t enough foster families.
In March of this year, the 4KIDS Southwest Florida team hosted the grand opening of their office space. Representative Spencer Roach, Albert Griffith, aide to State Senator Jonathan Martin, Kevin Anderson, mayor of Ft. Myers, Nadereh Salim, CEO of Children’s Network of Southwest Florida, and more, all came together to celebrate this momentous community occasion.
L to R: SWFL Grand Opening Staff 2023
Bautista Family - 4KIDS Adoptive Family
In response to this urgent community need, 4KIDS Southwest Florida aims to secure 54 new 4KIDS Foster Families by 2025. These homes would serve 94 unique children across all five counties. In addition to foster care, 4KIDS Southwest Florida offers the 4KIDS EPIC Therapeutic Approach. This trauma-informed approach addresses kids’ emotional, physical, intellectual, and character-based needs. EPIC includes one-on-one therapy, family therapy, and training for parents and community members. By 2025, 4KIDS Southwest Florida plans to offer 4,800 hours of clinical care to 240 children and parents.
In addition to foster homes and trauma-informed care, 4KIDS Southwest Florida also brings prevention-based care to help at-risk families and keep kids from entering foster care when possible through CarePortal. This online platform connects churches with real-time welfare needs in their community. Requests often include items such as toddler beds, electric bill assistance, newborn needs, and more.
One CarePortal leader from Citygate Church shared, “Our first request was an expectant mother who was having pregnancy complications and therefore, unable to work.” She continued, “With only the father working, a five-year-old with some learning disabilities, and a baby on the way, they were incredibly stressed, not knowing how they would make ends meet or obtain the needed items for their newborn. This wonderful platform was able to connect us with this family and help to provide them with everything they needed for the newborn. The family was so grateful to us for all the help, that they actually invited me and my husband to join them at the hospital for the delivery! It was truly an honor and blessing to be there in support and prayer for this family; something we will never forget!”
By 2025, 4KIDS Southwest Florida aims to have 45 local church partnerships with CarePortal, meeting 1,455 different requests – a $787,408 economic impact on the community.
4KIDS Southwest Florida is bringing hope through preventative care, homes with loving 4KIDS Foster Families, and healing through the EPIC Therapeutic Approach. Hope, homes, and healing have the ability to transform this community's most vulnerable population and impact an entire generation of children.
To learn more about 4KIDS partnerships and ways to advocate contact 4KIDS Southwest Florida Partner Engagement Officer, Karole Davis at KaroleD@4KIDS.us.