The Accomplishments of the Children’s Home Society of Florida
It is a sad truth that in every community there exist children who have no proper shelter to call home, nor a family to care for them. But it is an inspiring truth that an organization such as the Children’s Home Society of Florida rose in reaction to this fact and devised effective strategies to combat the spread of child neglect, child abuse, and child homelessness, as well as myriad other serious problems that affect children in Florida. Today we talked with Meghana Rajadhyaksha to go over the many services provided by the Children’s Home Society of Florida and its numerous successful accomplishments.
A record number of children and young adults report suffering from feelings of anger, anxiety, and depression, these days. The numbers among at-risk and displaced children are even higher. The parents and caregivers to these children are not immune, either. The Children’s Home Society of Florida offers counselling sessions to children, parents, foster parents, and adoptive parents in order to work through these destructive feelings and transform them into constructive ones. If transportation or distance is a problem, the Children’s Home Society of Florida even offers the option of tele-counselling with a trained professional therapist via computer, tablet, or smartphone. Meghana Rajadhyaksha explains that each session is uniquely tailored to the individual or family, and unless obligated by law otherwise, conducted under conditions of strict confidentiality.
For children aged 6-12 who live in single-parent households, the Children’s Home Society of Florida offers a mentoring program. A child is matched with an adult role model who pledges four hours of quality time per month to the child for a full year. The mentor and mentee engage in a series of activities meant to build a positive relationship, as well as bolstering the child’s self-esteem and empowering the child to achieve important goals. Typical activities include attending sporting events, touring museums and zoos, or simply having an honest discussion over a meal.
A mentoring program is also open to youth in foster care, aged 13-21. In this case, mentors and mentees pledge to spend four hours together each month for a full two-year cycle. In this program, the activities tend to be more educational in nature, and can include things such as preparing for a driver’s license test or touring potential colleges.
In both the cases of its counselling and mentoring programs, the Children’s Home Society of Florida has made an incredibly positive impact within all the communities it services. There is, unfortunately, no metric that can quantify the enormous good that is done in guiding vulnerable children and youth to be constructive and life-affirming, but it is an incredible accomplishment, nonetheless.
Foster Placement and Care
One of the main services provided by the Children’s Home Society of Florida is offering basic accommodations to children and youths with nowhere else to turn. Once situated on the facility grounds however, the organization does everything in its power to make sure one of two things happen: either the child is put up for permanent adoption, or the child is enrolled in the licensed, state-sponsored foster care program.
According to the Florida Department of Children and Families, as of May 2019, there are over seven thousand children in foster care in the state. Meghana Rajadhyaksha states that the Children’s Home Society of Florida can claim a large percentage of these successful placements as one of their great accomplishments.
Adoption and Post-Adoption Support
Of course, while placing a child into foster care is vast improvement to life on the street or living on the grounds of the Children’s Home Society itself, it is not the goal. The goal for every child and youth under the care of the Children’s Home Society of Florida is permanent adoption into a stable home.
According to the Florida Department of Children and Families, there are over three thousand children in approved, non-relative adoptive homes, and over ten thousand in approved, relative adoptive homes. The Children’s Home Society of Florida can take credit for a large percentage of these children being placed, as well. That such numbers—over thirteen thousand children in total in permanent adoptive homes—dwarf those of the state’s foster care system is another fantastic accomplishment.
Since its founding in 1902, the Children’s Home Society of Florida has improved the lives of thousands of homeless, vulnerable, and at-risk children and youths. According to the most recent of its internal statistics, it serves an estimated one hundred thousand children, youths, parents, guardians, foster parents, and adoptive parents every day, in one form or another. Meghana Rajadhyaksha and her husband, Amar Rajadhyaksha, are both extremely proud to be able to help support the Children’s Home Society of Florida.