HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla .– The major fallout from the Bay Area child welfare system has many people concerned about the future of the most affected children and the families needed to care for them.
Tina Quant is one of those advocates for children who wants people to do more. Her next book, “Live to Fly, Learn to Soar,” was motivated by the time she spent in the system and the failures that she says are still there.
What would you like to know
- Tina Quant is a children’s advocate who is raising awareness to encourage more people to welcome children.
- Her next book, “Live to Fly, Learn to Soar,” was motivated by the time she spent in the system and the failures that she says are still there.
- West Florida Foster Care Services’ Empty Closet program helps foster families in need.
“I have a chapter that just tells you why it is important to give foster children life skills, because the statistics show it and it is overwhelming that most foster children who cannot not be adopted or have long-term foster care, either become victims of sex trafficking, they become homeless and suicidal, ”Quant said.
Quant’s efforts come just as the Ministry of Children and Families terminated its contract with the child welfare agency, Eckerd Connects. Even more troubling for advocates like Quant is the Eckerd Connects criminal investigation for child neglect and abuse.
She knows full well how important a suitable foster family is for children.
“The way they were doing it with Eckerd was unfortunately bad. But again, if you don’t have a crowd, and basically what my book is about, stepping up, talking and advocating for these kids, that means we need to either recruit more emergency placements as well as foster parents. and adoptive parents as much as possible because there is a definite need, ”she said.
Now with his own family, Quant uses his book, his non-profit organization Quant SOAR, INC. and her volunteer work as an ad litem guardian to fight for children in the system she was once a part of 20 years ago.
“Based on the needs of the child, they then have to determine which placement will be best suited for them,” she said. “As in our case, my little brother had a hole in his heart. They therefore had to adapt accordingly. So he couldn’t stay with us until my sister got custody of us later in life.
She said she was concerned that people would continue to put the problems of the child welfare system under the rug.
But programs like the Empty Closet offered by West Florida Foster Care Services give him hope. The program provides host families with everything from diapers to food to clothing.
WFFCS Director of Family Advocacy Janet Rinaldi said their goal is to make it easy for foster families to care for children in foster care.
“It’s about allowing families to say yes. Not everyone can welcome foster children into their homes, but everyone can do something and the families who can accommodate these children need the rest of us to do something to take something away. off their plate, to make it a little easier for them to continue to take care of these children in crisis. said Rinaldi.
She said the Bay Area child protection crisis is much bigger than people realize.
“Right now Hillsborough County leads the state in the number of children in care, which is a crazy statistic,” Rinaldi said. “But we need good foster homes and we need good families to care for these children and be that safe place for them while they are in transition. So what we’re doing here is we’ve got you. If you are one of those families who can step in and welcome a child, we will support you 100%.
100% is what Rinaldi and Quant plan to continue giving to vulnerable children in Tampa Bay, whether in the form of clothing, services or a helping hand, and they hope others will join in as well.