Our Mission, Values & Vision

“At seven he had already moved more times than the total number of years he had been on the earth. And this time, like the times before it, he moved with his belongings in a trash bag. A suitcase, at least, would have added a small degree of dignity to the whole affair – to be “placed” in another and another and yet another foster home before reaching third grade. Trash bags break, you know. Trash bags can’t possible support the contents of any life, and certainly not a life as fragile as this.”

-From “The Child I Didn’t Adopt

That is the reality for far too many children in our community. When a social worker or child protective investigator removes a child from their home due to child abuse, it is common practice to bring a black, plastic garbage bag for the child possessions. Sadly, many of these children have very few of their own personal possessions.

Our organization believes that these children's lives are important and they're not trash that can be discarded. Friends of Children of Brevard, Inc. (Friends) is an organization that financially assists abused children in Brevard County, Florida and supports a program that provides advocates for these children. Abused and neglected children need more than the foster care and child welfare system can provide. Four children separated from one another and placed in different locations after being abandoned. A five-year-old girl rescued from an abusive father only to be bounced around to five foster homes and four different schools. Handing an eight-year-old boy his possessions in a garbage bag when he is moved to a foster home. These are not isolated stories. These are everyday realities of children in the system.

 Our group supports children who have been removed from their home due to abuse, abandonment and neglect. As a non-profit 501 (C) (3), Friends funds clothing, beds, bikes, computers, diapers, school supplies, luggage, holiday gifts, duffle bags and other items not provided by government agencies. We can provide these children with some basic opportunities, such as summer camps, swimming lessons and access to other normal childhood activities. We are there to fill in the gaps.  We can provide neded items that the state of Florida has not offered, such as providing a legally blind avid reader a new iPod, so she can enjoy audio books. Our funding can recognized the need for urgency over bureaucratic process. We can provide basic necessaries, such as bunk beds for a grandmother taking in her two grandchildren after the children’s drug-addicted mother was arrested in a home so filthy it was hazardous to their health.

In addition to our direct support of abused children, Friends supports the Guardian ad Litem (GAL) program, an important program that provides volunteer advocates for these abused children. These GAL volunteers, assigned by the court, offer judges the critical information they need by making independent recommendations.  Our volunteers focus on the needs of each child and continue to advocate until the child is placed in loving permanent home. Research shows a child with a volunteer are much less likely to languish in long-term foster care, are moved less frequently, and are more likely to be placed with brothers and sisters. When a volunteer is involved, both children and their parents are ordered by the courts to receive more services, indicating having a volunteer advocate is effective in identifying the needs of children and parents. Our GAL volunteers prevent children from becoming stranded in the courts and foster care. Cases with an assigned volunteer are more likely to be permanently closed than cases where a volunteer is not involved and these children are more likely to be adopted. These abused children with volunteers have one consistent person advocating for them until they are either reunified with their parents or adopted.

The mission of Friends of Children of Brevard is to improve the lives of the abused, abandoned and neglected children of Brevard County and to support their advocates, the Guardian Ad Litem Program.

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About the Guardian ad Litem Program

Thousands of abused, abandoned and neglected children become the subject of judicial proceedings each year in Florida. Their voices are often unheard and best interests overlooked in the complicated and overburdened adversary process. Guardians ad Litem (GAL) are citizens who volunteer to become part of a court program to represent the best interests of an assigned child. The volunteer Guardian ad Litem is a representative for the child before the court, social service agencies and the community. He/she also protects the child during the family crisis, court proceedings, and follows the child’ progress.

About Friends of Children of Brevard

Friends of Children funds clothing, beds, bikes, computers, diapers, school supplies, luggage, holiday gifts, duffle bags and other items not provided by government agencies. We also provide these children with some basic opportunities and access to normal childhood activities.

 

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