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Issues and Voices that Matter February 14, 2011

Foster Care – A Mom’s Story

Foster Care: A Mom's Story

Foster care is a refuge for abused, neglected & abandoned children. Stephanie Weinstein, a foster parent for 12 years living in Seminole County, Florida, describes the joys & challenges of embracing children who need a safe place to live. Her adopted daughter Laura, age 8, also shares her thoughts on families & fostering. Length – 18:07

Produced, reported and edited by Desta Horner

The foster care program is one of the many services for children and families that are part of Community Based Care of Seminole. CBC of Seminole is a non-profit agency that develops and coordinates a variety of services to provide support for children and families in the child welfare system. The resources gathered under CBC include adoption, tutoring and mentoring, counseling and mental health services, independent living for older youth, educational support, medical out-patient treatment, etc. With a budget of $14.3 million, more than 34 agencies and organizations partner in Community Based Care to provide services to children.

Seminole County has the lowest rate of children in foster care of any other agency in the state. This is the result of an effort to reunite families by providing support services and facilitating a record number of adoptions to move children into permanent homes or into independent living. Currently 450 children are being served either with their own parents, with relatives or in foster care.

Families who step up to welcome foster children into their home, receive $14 a day for each child and Medicaid provides health care for each child. Being a foster parent can be challenging because the children may have emotional or physical problems stemming from the conditions in the home from which they were removed. But the spiritual and emotional rewards for becoming a foster parent are high because the effort can make such a big difference in a child for their whole life.

There will always be a need for loving, caring and consistent foster parents when a child must be removed from their home. Stephanie Weinstein, her husband Jeffery and their two sons opened their home twelve years ago and have been caring for foster children of all ages ever since. They specialize in fostering girls. When baby Laura came to their house she fit in so well that when her biological parents gave up their parental rights, she became Laura Weinstein. Currently the Weinstein’s are fostering a charming two year old girl. Stephanie also works at CBC of Seminole as the school liaison for foster children. She monitors the progress and problems of 68 foster care children who are in the public schools because education is often adversely affected when children must come into foster care. Her job is to work with teachers and schools to help foster care children maintain achievement levels. Stephanie is always eager to recruit new families to become part of the foster care program because there are always children who need them.

Extended Interview & Pictures

Click on the picture(s) to enlarge.
Stephanie Weinstein, foster care parent (photo - CMF Public Media) Community Based Care of Seminole service center (photo - CMF Public Media)
Name and Desta Horner
Extended interview (22:30)

Statue of children at play. It stands in the lobby of Community Based Care service center (photo - CMF Public Media)

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