As CBC celebrates its 10th anniversary, I remember how we started with nine dedicated people who served only Seminole County. Since then, we’ve expanded into Orange and Osceola counties, our full-time staff exceeds 150, and we’ve championed some of the state’s most innovative programs for foster children.
When Florida privatized elements of its child-welfare system in 1997, it opened the door for regionally based networks like ours to make greater impacts on the local level. In Orange County, for example, we’ve dramatically reduced the number of children in foster care, while nearly quadrupling the percentage of former foster youth with a diploma or GED.
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Along the way, CBC’s commitment to our foster kids has expanded from simply keeping them out of harm’s way to providing them as “normal” a childhood as possible and offering critical support to those who transition with us into adulthood.
Through a variety of other public/private partnerships, we provide foster children with everything from STEM-based education to affordable health care. Among our many programs is First Star Central Florida Academy. Through a partnership with First Star, youth in foster care can receive mentoring through monthly workshops. They also can live on the University of Central Florida campus each summer, immersing themselves in the college experience while receiving math and literacy tutoring.
When it comes to giving children hope for the future, no single organization can do it alone. Together, we must protect and inspire every child every day.
Governed by a diverse, nonpartisan group of volunteers, CBC emphasizes community partnerships that aid foster children, families, caregivers and adoptive parents. More than 30 local organizations — including case-management agencies, children’s advocacy centers, residential-care facilities and faith-based groups — can be found under our partnership umbrella of care.
Looking ahead at the next 10 years, we at CBC are excited about partnering with the community to find new ways to better serve our children and families.