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Brevard Family Partnership looks for more foster families

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — Brevard County is growing, and the Brevard Family Partnership told Channel 9 about the need for qualified and compassionate foster families.

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Three years ago, Brittnee Joseph became a foster parent because she saw a need.

“I worked for the school board for a while,” she said. “I was also a child who was adopted, and I know children need a loving home that can be supportive, so we opened our home for sibling groups, teens and everybody else.”

Joseph is still a foster parent, but now she’s also an adoptive mom to 14-year-old Justen.

Read: Numbers show fewer children in Central Florida entering foster care, except teens

“When I came into my foster parents’ home, now adopted parents, I knew it was going to be my permanent home,” Justen Joseph said.

Brevard Family Partnership, the lead child welfare agency in Brevard County, said there are about 540 children in out-of-home care and only about 135 licensed homes for them.

Over the next few months, Brevard Family Partnership wants to increase that number to over 150.

Read: Agency that manages Central Florida foster care facing budget cuts, layoffs

Prospective foster parents must complete screening and pre-service training to become licensed by DCF.

The first of two training sessions will be offered later this month.

“What we do is engage them in a very specific understanding,” said Phil Scarpelli, president and CEO of Brevard Family Partnership. “Everything from child development to trauma, to the dynamics of adjustment and transition that these children need. We need people to understand when children come to us, the healing begins.”

“Being a foster parent can have its ups and downs,” Brittnee Joseph said. “It’s very rewarding at the end of the day. Every child is different.”

Read: Study shows increased screen time for 1-year-olds linked to risks of developmental delays

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