How do we do it?
We offer something few of our kids and families have known: hope.
Too many children in our community understand just one thing: fear. They've suffered the brutalities of abuse, the pain of neglect. They've been let down time and time again. They've lost any sense of belonging. They don't know how to trust.
And then they're rescued from their living nightmares. Finally, there's a glimmer of light. There's Children's Home Society of Florida.
Hundreds of kids and teens come to us every year, hurt and confused by their past yet fearful and uncertain about the future. They rely on us for safety, healing, comfort and guidance. Many find acceptance and love with local foster families that have opened their homes to children in need.
But for some especially traumatized teenagers, traditional foster care isn't enough. They need more attention. More counseling. More support.
Hacienda Girls Ranch
They find it at Hacienda Girls Ranch, our safe haven for teen girls in foster care struggling to cope with their losses and traumas. Embraced by a nurturing “family,” the girls, ages 12 to 17, receive educational support, counseling, recreational opportunities, guidance and direction on how to live independently.
As we help the girls heal from past traumas, we guide them toward futures of positive decision-making and opportunities to thrive. Some will eventually be able to return home safely, others may find a "forever family" through adoption. Yet most will leave Hacienda Girls Ranch at 18 to begin life on their own.
(Hacienda Girls Ranch was founded by GFWC Florida (General Federation of Women's Clubs) in the early 1970s, and the GFWC continues to support us through financial contributions, donations of supplies for the home and volunteer service.)
Life after 18
Were you ready for life on your own the day you turned 18? Not many people are, especially teens who've spent the past several years in foster care, uncertain of their futures. But on their 18th birthdays, Florida considers them legal adults, responsible for every aspect of their well-being.
It's frightening. These girls have already been through so much in their short lives, and many face homelessness before they're 20. We find that unacceptable. So we offer another option: transitional living, which provides a safe, stable place for young women to live while they complete their education and begin pursuring careers.
Hope for families in crisis
Crises happen. For some families, they happen a lot. And when kids in crisis are also struggling with mental health issues, things escalate fast.
Fortunately, we're here to help. Our experienced counselors understand how to compassionately work with families so they can overcome challenges, improve communication and learn how to appropriately handle stress, anxiety and other strong feelings.
When families need more intense counseling or care, we connect them with other resources and organizations that can best help them through their struggles. We advocate for our kids and families because they need us.
Starting fresh: Helping new moms raise safe, healthy babies
Expecting a baby can be really overwhelming! Especially if you were raised in an abusive home. Or if you're in a violent relationship. Or battling an addiction.
So we offer Healthy Start services to help pregnant women stay healthy and prepare for motherhood. We educate them on proper pre-natal care. We help them create a safe, nurturing home for their babies. We guide them through uncertain times and teach them how to manage the stress and demands of raising a child.
Our goal: to prevent abuse and neglect for more innocent kids, to break the vicious cycle in more Brevard County families.