First Lady Ann Scott Highlights DCF/DEP Partnership that Provides State Parks Passes to Foster and Adoptive Children and Families

On March 17, First Lady Ann Scott spent the morning at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park to highlight the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) partnership that provides foster and adoptive parents state park passes. Together, more than 15,000 children and their families will be able to enjoy some of Florida’s 171 award-winning state parks and trails at no cost.

“Today was a special opportunity for me to spend time with some of Florida’s strongest children and the incredible families who’ve opened up their hearts and homes when it was needed most,” Florida’s First Lady Ann Scott said. “These children are the future of Florida and I am thrilled to showcase the incredible parks our great state is so fortunate to have.”

Approximately 10,000 children are in foster placements throughout Florida. Foster and adoptive parents change lives and offer hope to children who have been removed from their homes by no fault of their own, but because they have experienced abuse or neglect and cannot safely remain with their parents. The partnership builds on last year’s program which allows these children to engage in outdoor recreation and supports them in the journey to lead more normal lives and create lasting memories with their foster and adoptive families.

“These children have been through incredible hardships and this is an opportunity for us to come together and celebrate them and some of Florida’s beautiful parks,” DCF Interim Secretary Esther Jacobo said. “We want these special, resilient children and families to have an opportunity to play, explore and just be kids.”

Florida’s 171 state parks and trails inspire residents and visitors with recreation opportunities and scenic beauty that help strengthen families, educate children, expand local economies and foster community pride. With 161 state parks and 10 state trails, families are attracted by the beaches, freshwater springs, historic sites and variety of recreational opportunities available. Hugh Taylor Birch State Park features a tropical hammock between the Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal Waterway, a short walk from beachside shops and condominiums. More than 250,000 people visit the park annually.

“Florida’s state parks offer outdoor recreation for families across Florida,” said Donald Forgione, Director of the Florida Park Service. “We are proud to partner with the Department of Children and Families to welcome foster and adoptive families to our state parks.”

State park passes will be distributed to foster and adoptive parents throughout the state by local community-based care lead agencies, the Foster and Adoptive Parent Association and local DCF offices. For more information on becoming a foster or adoptive parent, visit DCF at www.myflfamilies.com.

For more information on Florida’s state parks, visit www.floridastateparks.org.

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