WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — From fostering to adopting, 15 families opened their doors on Friday to create a forever home for dozens of children in Palm Beach County.
Inside the Palm Beach County Courthouse you’ll see a celebration. Different families from different backgrounds all here for one reason.
"From the moment that we met him we knew we were in love with him," said Melissa Joiner, an adoptive mother and foster parent
On Friday, 3-year-old Teko officially gained two parents and three siblings.
“Really, it was something that we felt passionate about. It was something we were always wanting to do to help children," said Joiner.
The Joiner family has fostered three children since signing up to become foster parents.
Larry Rein, President of ChildNet, which is tasked with operating the fostering system in Palm Beach and Broward Counties, says they are desperately in need of more foster parents.
“Our numbers are too high in Palm Beach. Our numbers right now, we have 1,700 Palm Beach children who are in the foster care system," said Rein.
So many that some are being sent to homes outside the county.
“We have 38 Palm Beach foster children who are placed outside of Palm Beach County because we don’t have the capacity to care for them here," said Rein.
In 2018, the Family First Prevention Act rerouted funding from group homes to family fostering, running some Florida group homes out of business. However, Rein says parents still aren’t signing up and the need is growing. So they are amping up advertisement.
“And they launched a campaign in April of this year to try to get us more awareness of the problem and get us more foster parents," said Rein.
To learn more about fostering children, visit ChildNet's website by clicking here.