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Communities Rally for Foster Parent Recruitment: Vero Beach

Indian River County residents turned out in force Friday for the final installment in a community breakfast series designed to rally residents behind the issues of foster care – particularly for the need for additional homes.

The breakfast series kicked off an eight-month marketing campaign led by Devereux Community Based Care, the non-profit organization coordinating child-welfare services in Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee and St. Lucie counties. The campaign goal is to rally enough support and interest in foster care to recruit at least 25 new homes by December 25.

Aptly named 25 by 25, the campaign brought a simple message to Friday’s breakfast: Everyone is a recruiter.

“Not everyone can be or wants to be a foster parents, but every single one of us can help recruit foster parents,” said Christina Kaiser, Devereux CBC director of community relations. “If you have a neighbor, a friend, or a mouth – you can be a recruiter and help us spread the word.”

That message has resonated throughout Okeechobee and the Treasure Coast, where previous breakfasts were held in Stuart, Okeechobee and St. Lucie West. Churches, schools, social groups and many other organizations are now reaching out Kaiser’s office for recruitment materials to share with their communities.

“We’ve sent out enough recruitment materials in the last month to reach another 1,000 people,” Kaiser said. “We’ve also received several invitations to speak to various groups interested in helping us recruit new foster homes.”

That’s good news for a community where half of all children in care are living in group homes rather than foster homes.

"One size doesn't fit all when it comes to kids in foster care," said Rebecca Morgan, one of Friday’s speakers who spent several years in foster care and is now a specialist in a Devereux CBC program that prepares teens for independence after foster care. "We should send children into group care because that's what's best for them, not because that's all we have for them."

Friday’s pancake breakfast was sponsored by the Exchange Club of the Treasure Coast, which has supported local recruitment efforts for three years. For more information about ways to join the recruitment effort – or to become a foster parent – call (772) 873-7800.

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May 26, 2015

Contact: Christina Kaiser
(772) 528-0362