Make a difference, become a foster parent

By: Lanetra Bennett | WCTV Eyewitness News
May 24, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A staggering statistic: 24,000 children are currently in Florida's foster care system, according to the Florida Department of Children and Families.

The need for a loving place for these kids is a constant concern.

Some foster families reach the limits of kids in one home. Other families retire from fostering.

Tallahassee resident Shawn Morancy says he beat the odds of becoming a negative statistic, simply because he eventually found love within the foster care system.

With headphones on and a microphone, Morancy is in his happy place when he's in the music studio.

Music is his passion and his outlet.

He wrote his first song in the eighth grade. But it was at six years old when life's melody went flat.

"I remember that day like it was yesterday," Morancy said.

It was Christmas Day.

"I had these people come into my house. They were like, 'hey man, we're going to McDonald's.' But I had all my bags with me. I was like, 'why do we have all of our bags if we're going to McDonald's?" he recalled.

He told his sister he believed they wouldn't be back.

"I was right, we didn't come back. We went to another house. That was definitely one of the more emotional times in my life."

Morancy was placed in foster care.

By age nine, he'd been in 12 foster homes.

It wasn't until the end of eighth grade that he moved to Tallahassee and found stability in the foster care system.

He said, "I wish I would've had that earlier in my life. Then it would've saved me from getting kicked out of school or getting into fights all the time, wrestling with a lot of different stuff. It would've saved me that trouble."

Child advocates say that's why good foster families are important.

Traci Leavine with the Florida Department of Children and Families said, "Every child needs a caring adult to help them be successful; particularly if they're transitioning into adulthood. It can make a difference between a child becoming a successful adult or becoming a statistic."

Most recent numbers from DCF say in March, 1,151 children entered Florida's foster care system.

"That gives you an idea of the magnitude of the need," Arie Sailor said.

Sailor is the executive director of One Church One Child, DCF's faith-based partner adoption organization. It's known as the arms and legs for recruiting foster homes.

"If people think about, 'can I provide a temporary home?' When we look at it from that perspective, I think we can think a little bit differently. People who haven't thought about that start thinking, 'maybe I can do this,'" said Sailor.

To become a foster parent, you need adequate space in your home and a safe environment.

Sailor said, "There's a need to be able to come and have compassion, and caring and understanding, and patience."

"And be consistent, because I had people who were consistent and persistent with me and didn't give up on me," Morancy added.

Those attributes were all the things that helped Morancy change his tune. Instead of bitterness, the now 21-year-old has grown to love and thrive.

"The people that have poured into my life, it makes it a lot easier to pour into other people. Just love the kid like he's your own kid and you'll be fine," he said.

That's the key to unlocking a foster child's heart, and your home.

Morancy says his experience has inspired him to be a foster parent one day.

DCF is looking for community members to foster children, adopt, or even mentor. Training is provided.

DCF can be reached at (866) 762-2237.

One Church, One Child of Florida can be reached at (850) 414-5620.

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