At Better Together, we have a passion for helping keep children out of the Foster Care system by addressing the root causes of neglect. We do this through the power of the local church and a network of incredible volunteers who open up their homes to care and hearts to children in need within our community.
If you have ever considered being a Host Family or you wanted to learn more about what kind of impact it can have, we want to walk through the process and what it looks like to host children in your home.
The Personality of a Host Family
Our Host Families are incredible; they make time in their busy schedules to care for children and families in need. They have a desire to serve together as an entire family by welcoming vulnerable children into their home. They embrace radical hospitality, which means ”Love a stranger” and extend friendship to isolated parents.
Hosting is not Foster Care; it’s short term, and we help parents that voluntarily reach out and want to help themselves. If you’ve ever been interested in Foster Care, this is a great way to get your feet wet, by welcoming a child into your home.
Our Host Families love children and families, are compassionate, patient, and flexible. Some of our Host Families are staying-at-home parents, working parents, or even single parents. If you’re a working parent, no problem- sometimes our children come with daycare vouchers or the hosting is just for the weekend.
Due to COVID19, a lot of families lost their jobs and are now at risk of becoming homeless. We have a growing need for Host Families willing to care for children over 90 days, families willing to care for sibling groups, stay at home parents that can care for newborns, and we also need those who are bi-lingual, with an emphasis on being fluent in Spanish.
What is the Commitment?
Our Host Families step in as co-parents to these children, so the time commitment is full-time, but the length of a stay can be anywhere from a few days to a few weeks or a few months if the family has a lot to accomplish. The average length of stay for a Better Together Host Family is only 41 days compared to 569 days in Foster Care.
What are the Responsibilities?
The first responsibility is to welcome a child or children into your home for short-term care. We want our Host Families to form a relationship with the parents to support and encourage them as they get back on their feet.
We would want you to care for these children as if they were your own, which means taking them to the doctor, picking them up if they are sick at school, and being flexible as we work towards a successful outcome for the family.
Because our Better Families program is not Foster Care, there are no courts or attorneys involved. The parents sign a temporary Power of Attorney (POA), and Better Together’s liability insurance covers our Host Families while they care for children. We are a privately funded organization, and the parents we help are choosing to place their children in a Host Family’s home, as they better their difficult situation.
The Host Parents receive support from our professional team, the local church, and the community, however, Host Parents do not receive financial support like Foster Parents. Instead, the community wraps around Host Families and helps provide for any of the children’s needs. Our team also works with the parents to make sure they are reaching their goals and helps support you during your hosting. We encourage the Host Family to build a healthy relationship with the parents and stay in contact during the hosting through phone calls, facetime, and visits with the children.
We’re all a team, working towards a common goal- helping parents achieve their goals and safely reunify with their children as quickly as possible.
What to Do Next?
If you are interested in becoming a Host Family, the first step is to fill out an application on our website and register for one of our upcoming informational meetings or training. The process is simple. Complete an application online and then attend a one-time training virtually through Zoom. We’ll check your references, pay for a background check and do a safety check in your home. That’s it!
Right now, our Better Families program is serving families in Lee, Collier, Hendry, Glades Charlotte, Sarasota, Desoto, and Manatee Counties. You can learn more about our Better Families program on our website and fill out a Host Family Application, and one of our staff will give you a call.