Why We’re here and who we are
In Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties, over 60 children are taken from their homes and placed in foster care each MONTH.
Of these children:
- Less than 60% will graduate from high school
- Over 20% will become homeless after age 18
- 25% will end up in the criminal justice system by age 24.
In 2008, the Foundation for Foster Children (FFC), a 501-c-3, was formed to address these staggering statistics. In collaboration with Community Based Care, a federally funded program, FFC provides an integral tier of support that goes beyond the basic needs of wellness and safety. This coordinated effort provides a comprehensive approach to addressing the outcomes from abuse and neglect.
The hallmarks of our program, educational support, personal development, and life-skills guidance target the areas essential to changing a child’s direction from poverty, crime and government assistance so that they can better become independent, contributing members of our community.
The Story Behind the Foundation
It all began when four women who formed a bond while volunteering with the Junior League of Greater Orlando decided they could make a difference. Michelle Carlton realized the need after watching her mother work at DCF and Devereux Florida, a provider of health and welfare services to foster children. Michelle met her mother at the DCF office for lunch one day and noticed the chaos in a noisy lobby full of parents and antsy children waiting for visitation. She saw the look of longing on a 7-year-old boy’s face when his parents did not show up.
It was a moment of recognition for Michelle, mother of two. “I thought, ‘now I know what I should be doing,’” she says.
The women heard stories of foster children who dropped out of sports because they could not afford the registration fee. They talked to high school students who didn’t walk with their graduation class because they were ashamed to admit they couldn’t afford the cap and gown. After conducting 2 years of research and focus groups to determine the greatest need, Lara Lee, Laura Cosgrove, Catherine Kirkpatrick and Michelle Carlton founded an organization that didn’t duplicate efforts, helped fill in the gaps, and brought the many silos together to work collaboratively.
Who We Support
FFC serves children in foster care ages 0-23 who are living with foster families, relative and non-relative families, and foster youth living in group homes or transitional homes.
Youth must be case managed out of Orange, Osceola or Seminole Counties or living in the tri-county area, but case managed out of a different county. For those under 18, there must be an open and active case with the Department of Children and Families.