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Local group finds forever homes for more than 200 foster kids

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 8:24 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Every child deserves a place to call home. But sadly, many don’t have one.

“Very frustrating for them. They don’t necessarily understand the system,” Life Management Center’s Adoptions Component Director Janelle Rodabaugh said.

Northwest Florida Health has been helping foster kids and teens find their forever homes for almost 20 years.

“It’s hard for them having to take on a new family and it’s a confusing situation but finding the right people that can kind of help them, love them, support them through it. That’s the ones that become successful,” Rodabaugh said.

The organization covers 18 counties in Northwest Florida.

The group set a goal of 184 adoptions for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. And with the pandemic, it wasn’t going to be easy.

“There were delays of getting termination of parental rights orders done due to court was not open all of the time. And then also not being able to go into peoples’ homes or some of the limitations with going into their homes so completing home studies,” Rodabaugh said.

But despite challenges, they successfully found forever homes for 226 kids. This is the 17th year in a row Northwest Florida Health surpassed its adoption goal.

“These children, because of the families that have opened their hearts and opened their homes have a forever support system and a family to love and care for them just like they were their very own,” Northwest Florida Health Network Community Relations Specialist Kasey Killebrew said.

But the search isn’t over. As of June 30th, there were still more than 40 local children in need of an adoptive family.

For more information on how to get involved, you can visit www.NWFHealth.org.

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