'A long-term commitment to these children': Children in Crisis strives to give children homes
Editor’s Note: Each month the Destin Log will share a story from one of the charity partners benefiting from the support of Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation.
On any given day, there are over 400,000 children living in the foster care system in the U.S. 8 percent of children in foster care have stayed there for over five years. In 2013 alone, more than 58,000 children in foster care had the rights of their biological parents terminated.
Who are these children? These are young people who have been removed from their families due to abuse or neglect. Some of them have just been outright abandoned. On the Emerald Coast, there are over 1,400 foster children per year and only 330 community foster homes available. In 2002, Children in Crisis (CIC) was established to develop “The Children’s Neighborhood,” to give these children homes, and provide hope.
Children in Crisis (CIC) has been a Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation (DCWAF) partner since the very first auction in 2006. CIC has earned donations totaling $1,611,783 from DCWAF. Currently serving over 100 children per year, “The Children’s Neighborhood” has expanded to include the DCWAF Sue Sue’s Cottage, and the DCWAF Ya Ya’s Home. These homes can hold up to 8 children at a time and consistently stay at capacity.
The DCWAF Opportunity Home Transitional Living Program serves approximately 30 youth per year. These are children who may have failed in foster care and need additional guidance. Funding will help provide life skills and educational processes required to become productive adults. At the 2015 Check Presentation Ceremony, DCWAF presented CIC with a check for $220,000 to begin construction for a new shelter, the Travis Tringas home, which will be a foster home housing 8-12 children at all times.
“Your (DCWAF) donation and support has helped CIC and our partner charities in so many ways," said Ken Hair, Children in Crisis president and CEO. "You (DCWAF) have given us the means to provide services to the people in need, move forward toward our visions and to complete critical projects that would never have been done without your help. But most importantly, you have touched the lives of hundreds of children less fortunate. Your dedication and support to all of the DCWAF charities has made a huge difference far into the future."
“This DCWAF Travis Tringas home will provide hundreds of siblings with stability, shelter, house parents, food, clothing and necessary items to live a healthy and successful life while in our care. We expect the home to be open in the Fall," said Hair.
CIC has a dedicated 24-hour wake-staff assigned to the facility and addresses immediate needs of the children. Each foster home has two house parents that live in the house. Although there is a per diem provided from the state when Families First Network places a child with CIC, it only covers about 1/3 of the actual costs of feeding, clothing and caring for these kids. Before CIC there was no emergency shelter in Circuit 1 for young children removed from an unsafe environment on short notice and often times sibling groups were not able to stay together. In fact, 45 percent of foster children are separated from their siblings. At CIC, sibling separation is minimized, and it is their priority to keep brothers and sisters together, and so far they have maintained a 100 percent success rate.
“What amazes me about Children in Crisis, is that they have such a long-term commitment to these children and they have become such an incredibly important part of their lives. This is not one-time aid, it’s years of assistance. They know these children, they live with them, they are immersed in their lives, their growth and healing, and their future," said John Russell, president of DCWAF.
To learn more, visit childrenincrisisfl.org.
To learn more about all of DCWAF charity partners, visit www.dcwaf.org.