Saturday, September 18, 2021
Florida Catholic staff - Florida Catholic
MIAMI | Three child welfare organizations launched a recruiting event for foster parents after Sunday Masses at St. John Neumann Church on Grandparents Day, Sept. 12, 2021.
The three manned side-by-side information booths in the loggia of the church: Catholic Charities’ Unaccompanied Refugee Minors Program, St. John Neumann’s Hope, Heart & Home ministry and the Citrus Family Care Network, the primary community-based care provider for the Department of Children and Families in Miami-Dade County.
“Children in foster care desperately need safe and secure homes with caring parents,” said Hope, Heart & Home’s Eric Schwindeman. “Praise God! Seven parish families answered the call and signed up to explore foster and respite parenting.”
The three organizations will team up once more on Sunday, Sept. 26, for a similar recruiting event after the 8 a.m. to noon Masses at St. Louis Church in Pinecrest.
The requirements to be a foster parent include: Be at least 21 years old; be able to provide adequate bedroom space and a separate bed for each foster child; have reliable transportation; be willing to participate in a 30-hour free training; be prepared for adults in your household to undergo complete background checks; be able to meet basic resources to support the household.
Catholic Charities provides 24-hour case management, monthly stipend to help with the care of the refugee minor or youth, continuing education and more. For more information, call 305-883-3383 or visit www.ccadm.org.
Hope, Heart & Home also registered as a partner on a new child welfare platform, CarePortal. This new statewide initiative pairs families in need of assistance with local faith institutions and community organizations who can help meet specific requests.
“One of our HHH parishes, St. John Neumann, is now registered as part of this network and will be shortly followed by St. Louis,” said Schwindeman.
CarePortal works this way: A caseworker enters a request for a foster family on the platform. Recent requests have been made for needs such as diapers, a bunk bed frame and a crib. The request goes out to all the churches registered on the site near the foster parents' zip code. The church’s CarePortal administrator relays the need to those in the network, then responds to CarePortal with the part of the request the church can meet.
Dr. John Gentile is Hope, Heart & Home’s CarePortal administrator. Those who are interested in helping with requests can reach out to him at [email protected].