Helping the Whole Family:
Keeping Kids and Parents Together
“We can’t help kids until we help parents. It’s that simple,” says CEO Megan Rose, who spent 10 years working in the foster care system prior to taking the lead at Better Together.
Better Together’s Better Families program prevents neglect and abuse by developing caring relationships with at-risk parents and children. First, we enable parents to voluntarily take a temporary break from parenting so they can focus on solutions for their family. Knowing Better Together’s commitment to caring for their children and reuniting them when the time is right, they can overcome hardships before resuming the incredible responsibility of raising a family.
Most importantly, parents maintain full legal custody of their children. That is the Better Together promise.
Call Our 24/7 Hotline: (239) 470-2733
Better Together Promise
We will not judge you.
We will never take custody of your children or do anything without your consent.
We will cheer for your success like you are family.
We will not help you once and then disappear.
We will help you regain independence in every way we can.
We will remind you that everyone has God-given potential in this world.
We will always look for solutions that keep your family together.
A Step-by-Step Guide to How Better Families Works
Better Together’s professional staff meets the parent(s) to understand their story, needs and objectives. We specialize in early intervention, helping families before they are involved with the courts and state foster care. If the family is a good match for Better Together, the process moves forward. Otherwise, the staff connects the parents with organizations that can better meet their needs.
If the parents wish to voluntarily place their children with a host family, they’ll be matched and assigned to a Family Care Advocate. This liaison between the birth parents and host family is supported by the Better Together professional staff. Together with their Family Care Advocate, the birth parents and host parents agree on temporary living arrangements. There’s an estimated length of stay for the kids, but everyone understands that circumstances may change. Often, parents need less time then they think to address their challenges. Parents may arrange with host families to see their children regularly if they wish to do so.
It’s important to note: Host families do not receive stipends from Better Together or from the government for caregiving. They may receive diapers, supplies and grocery assistance from faith organizations and private donors, but these families are motivated solely from the heart.
Parents in distress generally were raised by other parents in distress. Recognizing the generational cycles of poverty and abuse, another subset of volunteers – Family Mentors – are ready to lend a hand, an ear and a friendly voice to steer those who feel isolated and overwhelmed. The relationships are strictly voluntary and more akin to friendships than the formal case management the state provides when children are in foster care. Though casual in nature, these partnerships have targeted aims:
1. To help parents-in-need fill whatever gaps are preventing them from achieving self-sufficiency.
2. To provide stability for their children.
Parents may request a Family Mentor, whether or not their children are with a Host Family.
Unlike foster care, where courts determine family reunification, parents drive the decisions throughout their involvement with Better Together. That includes choosing the right time to bring their children home.
Referring A Family
Currently, Better Families serves children primarily on the west coast of Florida, from Hillsborough County south to Collier County. However, it is poised to expand statewide and has the ability to help anywhere in the state of Florida. If you know a family who needs assistance, we strongly welcome and encourage you to reach out so we can start working on solutions for them right away. Their legal custody is never in jeopardy. In fact, they must be willing and able to accept the hand up we offer.
Applying For Help
Every child deserves the chance at a better life, and we believe every parent can give this gift. Many just need support while they improve their situation. After all, it can be hard to bounce back from life’s challenges when you are struggling physically, mentally or financially, and care for children at the same time. If you’re committed to improving your life and willing to accept a hand up, contact us to see if Better Families is the right solution for you and your children.
Apply for help below or call our 24/7 hotline: (239) 470-2733
Have You Tried Better Jobs?
If you are struggling to raise your family because of job loss or underemployment, you are not alone. Better Jobs can help by connecting you with volunteers who are trained to provide job coaching and willing to do whatever it takes to help you connect with employers in your area.