Why do we need the CIC Children’s Neighborhood?
There is a severe shortage of foster homes in our community. Prior to The Children’s Neighborhood, there was no emergency shelter for young children in the four county area of Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Walton counties. This shortage caused children to be placed in foster homes that were over capacity, frequently moved from home to home, and much too often, siblings were separated.
Where do the children come from and how do they come to the neighborhood?
Our children come to us from the Florida Department of Children and Families foster program and are placed by NWF Health Network. There are many situations that would require a child to be placed in foster care, but many children are abused, neglected or abandoned and removed from an unsafe living environment on short notice.
What makes CIC different from other children’s charities?
CIC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit supported by caring people providing homes and establishing hope to our children. CIC is the only charity in the area that provides the home for foster children and emergency shelter for young children. The Children’s Neighborhood provides an emergency shelter, for children that are removed on short notice from unsafe or abusive environments. CIC keeps siblings together, reduces out of county placements, minimizes the disruption of multiple foster home placements and provides a stable, nurturing home for children in a local neighborhood environment.
How many children live at the Children’s Neighborhood?
We have the capacity to serve 37 at-risk foster children at any given time, and typically give a home to about 100 children per year. Hundreds of at risk children will have a safe, secure, temporary home in the Emergency Shelter. A dedicated 24-hour wake-staff will be assigned to the 16-bed facility and will address the child’s immediate needs until a more permanent placement can be arranged. Each of our foster homes typically have 5-10 children and provide for the child’s long-term needs. Each Foster homes have two house parents. That live in the house.
Where is the Children’s Neighborhood located?
The Children’s Neighborhood is located in Fort Walton Beach. The site was made possible through a charity land lease of 20 acres by the Northwest Florida State College.
What facilities are available at the Children’s neighborhood?
We have an emergency shelter, five family-style foster homes, a neighborhood center for administration, a recreation center, Kay’s Cupboard for gently used clothing and food pantry, a therapy center for on campus therapy sessions, a playground with a pavilion and a transition home for the young adults who aged out of foster care.
What will the Neighborhood cost and how will it be financed?
We started our Capital Campaign to raise necessary construction funds in January 2005. Thanks to wonderful support from private, business and community donations, we have raised the necessary funds to build the facilities listed above. The first phase of the Children’s Neighborhood costs approximately $5 million. Typically, no federal or state tax funds are available for construction, making CIC dependent on donations from local community members.
How are operations of the Children’s Neighborhood funded?
When NWF Health places a child with us, a per diem is provided from the state. However, the reimbursement will only cover about one-third of the actual cost of feeding, clothing and caring for our foster children. We need your help! We have initiated several fundraising campaigns to help sustain operations including The Kid’s Club, the Change for Children campaign and the Annual Children’s Neighborhood Charity Golf Tournament. We have partnered with other foundations, organizations and business to help keep the Children’s Neighborhood open and operating. Additionally, the faith community plays a significant role in providing financial and spiritual support.
How do I adopt one of CIC’s children?
Occasionally, we do serve children who are up for adoption. Families in Florida that are seeking to adopt should call 1-(800) 96-ADOPT. Families that reside outside of Florida should call 1-904-353-0679.
How many foster children are in our area?
There are over 1,400 foster children in Circuit 1 (Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton Counties) each year.
Where are these foster children placed?
There is a severe shortage of foster homes in the area. Circuit 1 currently has 330 foster homes with a total of 675 beds. 26% of foster children are placed in overcapacity homes requiring a waiver. 20% are placed outside of Okaloosa and Walton counties and 58% of Group Home placements are outside Okaloosa and Walton counties. Before Children in Crisis, Inc. established The Children’s Neighborhood, there was no emergency shelter in Circuit 1.
How long are the children in foster care?
Once in a foster home, there is no guarantee that the child will stay in the same home during their time in foster care. Foster children have moved an average of 3-4 times per year, with some children moving as often as 10 times per year. The average length of stay in a foster home is 33 months. 18% stay in foster care longer than 5 years.
Do brothers and sisters get to stay together in foster care?
Unfortunately, 45% of sibling groups are separated during foster care, causing secondary trauma of being separated from close relationships and stability. CIC works tirelessly to maintain our 100% success rate of keeping sibling groups together at the neighborhood.