Tuesday, May 19, 2015
The Duke Energy Foundation is working with the Guardian ad Litem Foundation of Tampa Bay to help meet the basic needs of abused and neglected children in the child welfare system in Pinellas and Pasco Counties. Children who have been removed from their parents have typically experienced severe trauma and then have to cope with major disruptions (including multiple placements and school transfers) on their path to safety and permanency. Beds, mattresses, bedding, car seats, and clothing are the items of greatest need most often requested by Guardian ad Litem volunteers working to ensure children are stabilized from crisis situations. These items are necessary to ensure that children removed from their homes are able to be placed quickly in a safe and caring environment.
Every child deserves love. Every child deserves a home and family. And along the way, what is often a hard and troubled way, these children deserve hugs, their own pillow, and their own undergarments. They deserve a way to transport their belongings in something other than a big black garbage bag. Every child deserves a good night’s sleep and a bed to call their own.
Every child deserves a good night’s sleep but more importantly, scientific research shows that sleeping habits affect performance in school by improving peer relations and increasing attention spans. Children in turbulent environments are often already behind their peers in school and for every move they experience, studies show they fall behind as much as six months. Our hope is that this program will not only provide a safe place to sleep but it will also bolster school success and reduce the number of moves each child in care has to endure.
We are working diligently to help children navigate the turbulent waters of the dependency court system, to help them find permanent homes quickly, and offer them the opportunity to thrive by providing for their social, emotional, medical, and educational needs. We thank Duke Energy Foundation for helping us support children’s most basic needs that arise from being removed from their homes with no notice and by no fault of their own. Their support will not only change the life of one of the children in the dependency system but has a lasting impact that changes the future of our community.