By: Marisa Herman Associate Editor
Karen Granger has gone from helping build businesses to having a hand in building families.
Granger, the former CEO and president of the Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce, is currently the Community Relations Director for 4Kids, a nonprofit that helps place kids with foster families in Broward County, Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.
Granger has been in the role for about a year and a half and recently helped the nonprofit that focuses on foster care grow by moving it into a new Palm Beach County location.
Located at the Congress Corridor in Delray Beach, 4Kids has expanded from its space at Boca Community where it was housed for the past 12 years.
“This office answered our prayers,” Granger said.
Now, 4Kids can provide meeting rooms for informational sessions, house its licensed case workers and continue to help place kids with foster families. Granger said it is a smaller version of the main headquarters in Broward County.
Photos of children who have been adopted are plastered on walls along with words that represent the core values of the nonprofit.
4Kids is a one-stop shop for folks considering fostering. Their team works on getting people approved to foster and then works to make matches for kids in need with those families.
They also provide training, therapy sessions and tools that both the foster parents and the kids may need. 4Kids is prepared to help foster families taking on children who were in abusive families, were trafficked or suffered a traumatic experience through its EPIC Therapeutic Approach, a trust-based, trauma-focused model that addresses the “Emotional, Physical, Intellectual, and Character” based needs of kids.
Granger said the new office space has a training room where those specialized sessions can take place.
The goal is to place children from babies up to age 17 in a safe environment. From there, they follow an action plan. The plan can involve either reunification with a birth parent or even an adoption by the foster parents.
“Foster care is a crisis,” Granger said, explaining that there are more kids than foster homes in Palm Beach County.
Governing agency Child Net reported that from January-March there were 143 kids that were not placed in homes in Palm Beach County.
Ifyou visit the 4Kids website http://www.4kids.us , you can plug in your zip code and see how many children from your neighborhood were removed from their homes in a year’s time.
“We want to make it so every kid has a home,” she said.
If a home is not available right away, children go to SafePlace 4Kids, where they are housed until an action plan is created.
4Kids has been around for more than 20 years. The agency started in Broward County and expanded.
Total, 4Kids has placed 25,000 kids into homes with about 700 adoptions. In Palm Beach County, the placements into foster homes total about 2,000 and the adoptions are over the 100 mark.
4Kids also stays in touch with families even after adoptions take place. If training or therapy is still needed after a foster family adopts, 4Kids will help.