Florida currently has 7,287 children living with foster families, and 5,358 licensed foster parents. Charlotte County had 104 children in licensed foster homes and 11 in group care at the end of 2018, while Sarasota County had 67 children in foster care and 12 in group care, according to DCF.
For Alexander, four of her foster sons are siblings. Sibling groups can often be a challenge to place together, according to William Thompson, case manager supervisor for Camelot Community Care, which provides case management services for foster children in Charlotte County.
“A lot of times the difficulty comes with the largest sibling groups,” Thompson said. “We don’t always have homes that are able to accommodate that number of children.”
Alexander said she’s used to having a full house, having raised her own three biological children and two adopted sons. Clashing personalities can sometimes present a challenge, but that’s how it would be in any family, she said.
“I have seven boys, my babies, and each and every one of them have different personalities,” she said. “We’re not a perfect household, but we’re perfect for each other.”
While the goal of foster care is to eventually reunify the children with their parents, Alexander said she just focuses on preparing the boys with the skills they’ll need no matter what comes next…