In our Children’s Neighborhood, every child is not just a name on a list but a cherished member of a community where love knows no boundaries.

In the heart of Ft. Walton Beach, where the echoes of laughter should resonate, lies a haven named “Children in Crisis.” In this nurturing “Children’s Neighborhood,” amidst the gentle hum of life, young souls find refuge when their worlds crumble.

Picture a quaint emergency shelter, a sanctuary embracing children who have known only the harsh touch of upheaval. Imagine five homes, each a beacon of hope, where laughter dances freely and love knows no bounds.

When you meet the children, you will immediately realize that the boys and girls are resilient children with dreams in their eyes, once lost in the uncertainty of foster care. Through the open doors of “Children in Crisis,” they discover not just a home. Surrounded by nurturing caregivers and kindred spirits, the children learn to trust again, to believe in the promise of tomorrow.

Amidst the walls of the Transitional Living Program, a haven within a haven, stories of triumph unfold. Young Adults, on the verge of aging out of foster care, find solace here. With the guidance of mentors and the warmth of a supportive community, they turn the page to a chapter filled with hope and opportunity.

This neighborhood is more than just a collection of houses constructed of bricks and mortar; it is a tapestry woven with threads of compassion and resilience. It’s the echo of children’s laughter, the warmth of hugs shared, and the reduction of trauma of children who found stability, love, and the promise of a brighter tomorrow. In our Children’s Neighborhood, every child is not just a name on a list but a cherished member of a community where love knows no boundaries. “Children in Crisis” not only shelters dreams but nurtures them, building a community where the echoes of resilience drown out the whispers of past struggles.



The Department of Children and Families privatized child welfare in Florida and the need for foster homes became an immediate priority. Children in Crisis, Inc., a non-profit 501(C)(3) charity was established to raise and manage funds to build, staff, and operate “The Children’s Neighborhood, a residential style foster care neighborhood. From a small grass-roots group of individuals, The Children’s Neighborhood was built and over the year’s has provided a loving, nurturing environment for over one thousand children removed for abuse, abandonment, and/or neglect.


Susanna Wesley Emergency Shelter and Blessings House Family Foster Home went under construction.


Susanna Wesley Emergency Shelter and Blessing House opened their doors and hearts to our first set of children in February.


The Children’s Neighborhood added its second foster home, Sue Sue’s Cottage. Sue Sue’s Cottage was funded by Dr. Doug Porter and Family and the Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation. Later in the year, we opened the “Opportunity Home,” a set of studio apartments for teenagers aging out of the foster care system to prevent homelessness in this incredibly vulnerable population.


We were blessed to open our third foster home, the “Ya Ya House.” This wouldn’t have been possible with out the financial genoristy from Jim and Peggy Adams, Frank and Brenda Flautt and the Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation.


February brought great celebration with our groundbreaking ceremony of our fourth foster home, the Travis Tringas Home.


The Ty Pennington foster home rounds out The Children’s Neighborhood. The entire community was invited to witness this significant milestone in CIC’s development. The new facility provides a home to 12 foster children and is designed to keep sibling families of brothers and sisters together.


Founding Board member and long-time supporter of Children in Crisis, Maj. Gen. Don Litke, USAF Ret. presented a check to CIC to fund construction of Kay’s Cupboard food pantry in memory of his wife Kay Litke. Kay’s Cupboard is CIC’s first stop for sundries and clothing.


The Children’s Neighborhood is blessed to have the King Whitmire Therapy Center constructed. Children receiving wrap-around and counseling services, keeping everything confined to The Children’s Neighborhood.

Frequently Asked Questions

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 home has two house parents that live in the home with the children.

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.

We are so thankful for our support from our many agency partners!

Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF)

The state agency responsible for the initial investigation of reports of child sexual and physical abuse and neglect.

NWF Health Network

Serves as the Network Management agency for child protection and behavioral health services in Northwest Florida.

Family First Network

Provides child welfare, foster care and adoption services in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties. Collaborate with partners throughout the state, in Northwest Florida’s four-county area and within faith-based communities, to ensure the safety and well-being of children.

Emerald Coast Children's Advocacy Center (ECCAC)

Founded to provide a safe environment for children of abuse and neglect to tell their stories one time, receive all the help they need to overcome their trauma, and begin to heal.

Our Community Partners:

and so many more!

Our Memberships:

Financial Accountability Policies

Children in Crisis, Inc.’s financial accountability is guided by our Independent Board of Directors and annual auditing and review of our financial statements by an independent CPA firm.


Children in Crisis has established sound internal control and management policies that include:

  • Board of Director Governing Committee Review of 990 Prior to Filing
  • Conflict of Interest Policy
  • Whistleblower Policy
  • Records Retention and Destruction Policy
  • Compensation Determination Process Policy
  • Board Members are Not Compensated
  • No Loans to or from Related Parties Permitted
  • Documents Minutes for all Board Meetings
  • Maintains a No Long-Term Debt Policy

Our Commitment to Our Donors

We will not sell, share or trade our donors’ names or personal information with any other entity, nor send mailings to our donors on behalf of other organizations. This policy applies to all information received by Children in Crisis, both online and offline, on any Platform (“Platform”, which includes the Children in Crisis website and mobile applications), as well as any electronic, written, or oral communications. To the extent any donations are processed through a third-party service provider, our donors’ information will only be used for purposes necessary to process the donation.


Children in Crisis, Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit tax exempt organization, Federal Tax ID 65-1196220 Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Registration #CH18800.
Copyright © 2024 Children in Crisis (CIC). All rights reserved.

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