“Write the vision and make it plain on tablets” (Habakkuk 2:2).
It may be a faith-based agency, but 4KIDS leadership understands that without a vision they would perish. As such, the agency sets annual strategic goals, some of which have seemed unattainable but yet have been reached. In fact, this year they met their goal to license 100 homes in Broward County a full three months early.
“4KIDS has grown their number of foster homes by 36% and served 28% more children,” said Wendy Smith, director of foster home recruitment and quality at ChildNet.
When we say that there are 4,000 children in foster care in South Florida alone, it means more than just kids who are removed from their homes due to abuse, abandonment or neglect. To 4KIDS it means any child or youth who is not in a loving home, and that includes kids in in group homes, shelters and institutional care; young girls facing unwanted pregnancies or at risk for sexual exploitation; teens who age out of foster care and have nowhere to go.
4KIDS programs to reach children and youth
“We’re extremely grateful to our partners for their gifts, prayers and good works on behalf of the children we serve,” said Doug Sauder. “This problem can be solved—the plans are in place and the team is strong.”
SafePlace 4KIDS—where children from birth to 17 receive tender loving care, services and support while they await placement.
Foster Care—loving families recruited, trained, and supported by 4KIDS.
Safe Families—prevents children from entering the foster care system by families helping families when a crisis strikes.
Mercy Place—newly renovated 4KIDS-style family home for girls ages 11 – 17 at risk of being recruited into the sex trade.
His Caring Place—young moms in unplanned pregnancies receive support and counseling and a place to stay to see their pregnancies through and finish school, find jobs to be able to care for their babies. 354 moms and babies were impacted in 2013 alone!
SOSI—the Spirit of Success Institute provides long-term residential support to young adults who ‘aged out’ of the system and might otherwise end up homeless, unemployed or in prison.
2014 – 2015 Strategic Goals
“Stay on good terms with each other, held together by love. Be ready with a meal or a bed when it’s needed. Why, some have extended hospitality to angels, without ever knowing it! Regard prisoners as if you were in prison with them. Look on victims of abuse as if what happened to them had happened to you” (Hebrews 13:1 – 2 The Message)
• Increase foster homes in South Florida from 130 to 210 by June 2015.
• Launch SafePlace 4KIDS in Palm Beach County to provide emergency care for 800 – 1,000 children annually.
• Impact over 2,000 new children and families through outreach services.
• Deliver Trauma-based Therapy to children affected by abuse, neglect and sexual exploitation.
• Establish three 4KIDS affiliates in Florida and the United States to begin solving the national foster care crisis.
While 4KIDS is best known as a foster care agency, they have established programs over the years to reach the broader spectrum of displaced children and youth in South Florida.
“Between the increasing need for more homes and the fact that we do sometimes ‘lose’ homes—families adopt, take breaks or move away—there is always a need to license more foster families,” Lukasik said. “Just yesterday I was at SafePlace and there were eight youngsters we didn’t have homes for. We’ve come a long way, but we’re not stopping here because there are still kids who need our help.”