Family Support Services of North Florida (FSS) is the lead non–profit agency for foster care, adoption and family preservation in Duval and Nassau counties. Through community-based care, FSS provides services and programs to help prevent child abuse and neglect, to promote a healthy family environment and to care for our community’s children in foster care.
We were established in 2002 to provide services for youth in Duval County and expanded to also serve Nassau County in 2007. We employ and contract more than 300 local child well-being professionals in Duval and Nassau counties. We provide family preservation, foster care and adoption services to more than 5,000 local children each year.
Our services extend beyond finding homes for children in care. Through our innovative Strengthening Ties & Empowering Parents (STEPS) program, we provide in-home intervention services to prevent families from entering the foster system. Our Independent Living department offers teens transitioning out of foster care many services including going to college and getting their own apartment. Our licensing department hosts a 6-week training program for families interested in becoming state certified foster parents as well as numerous supports to help them while they are taking care of foster children in their home.
Our mentoring program has been so successful that we’ve made it a permanent part of services. Our Community Development department runs the unique “Be An Angel” holiday program, a gift drive for older foster children who are often left out of typical Christmas toy drives. We go above and beyond for our families, and the state scorecard measurements prove our success.
During 2016-2017 alone, we placed 135 youth with permanent guardians, unified 292 children with their biological parents and saw 247 youth adopted from foster care. We also helped thousands of children through our in-home and preventative services that help keep children with their families, so they don’t experience the trauma of being removed from their families and placed in care. For the almost 900 kids we have in care annually, we’re proud of the impact we’ve made.
But just because we’ve been successful at providing community-based care to our children and families doesn’t mean our job is done. We licensed many new foster homes last year, but there are still children being removed from their homes who need a safe, loving and nurturing environment in which to stay. Our Adoptions team found forever homes for hundreds of children last year, but there are still countless teens in foster care who want to be adopted and need a family that sees the value of making a permanent difference in the life of an older child.
FSS needs the help of our community to improve the services we provide and the outcomes for our kids, but we also need to change the way people see children in the system. Foster kids go to school with your kids. They play on the soccer team with your kids, they’re sitting next to you in church – they are part of the fabric of our community. Delivering the best in community-based care means that we believe everyone in Jacksonville has a vested interest in seeing our children succeed for the future of our community.
If you want to know how you can make a measurable difference in the life of a child, we want to hear from you. Only have a little time to spare? Join our volunteer team or be a mentor and spend a few hours with a foster child each month. Want to provide a safe haven for kids while we work to reunite them with their biological families? Fostering would be a perfect fit. Looking to take in a child and make them a permanent part of our family? Adoption is for you. All we ask is that you take the first step. Visit our website www.fssjax.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 904-421-5864 for more information.