The team at Community Partnership for Children follows the philosophy that we can’t do this work alone. We stongly rely on the valuable partnerships we’ve built within the communities we serve. In addition to our contracted providers, we also have many partnerships with businesses, residents, and agencies in the community. Please view our list of partners and if you happen to visit with any of them, thank them for the work they are doing to support local children.
Each year, we also recognize a Distinguished Friend of Children, which is a community volunteer, for their efforts in supporting our children. This year we proudly announce Garry and Kelly Donhauser as the Distinguished Friends of Children 2014.
Kelly and Garry were licensed as foster parents in New York over 20 years ago. They primarily worked with teen girls. The Donhausers were a tremendous support to families and worked tirelessly to reunify children with their parents. Sometimes reunification wasn’t possible, but that didn’t stop the Donhausers, they went on to adopt 6 of their many foster children over the years. The beautiful Florida weather beckoned them to relocate to Florida. After settling in, they decided that they wanted to start fostering again. Four of their adopted children were adults and they felt like the house was too empty.
The Donhausers took the Florida foster parent training at Devereux in 2006 and said they wanted to begin with respite care and short term placements. However, the training facilitators recognized their skills and strengths as foster parents and had other plans for them. They were matched with a pair of twins prior to becoming licensed and started visiting them, so that they could transition to their home after licensure. From that point on, Garry and Kelly never turned down any placements. They committed to every child placed with them and kept them until permanency was reached. They even adopted another child in 2009, bringing their total adoptions up to 7.
Kelly and Garry worked in partnership with all child welfare workers, therapists, GAL’s, licensing counselors, adoption workers, and biological parents. In 2012 they decided to transfer their license to Neighbor to Family, so that they could take large sibling groups, as managing a lot of children was something that came easy to them.
Kelly saw it as a chance to work more closely with biological parents to help the children get home more quickly. In 2013, Kelly became a Foster Parent Mentor with Community Partnership for Children. She dove right into the job, as she does with every task she takes on. Kelly sits in and co-trains all of the classes for potential foster parents and serves as a mentor for them. She has guided them through the system, their first placement, and adjusting with their children. She sits on the Foster Care Review Committee for CPC, coordinates a foster parent support group, and always sets an example for what a foster parent should be. She is an inspiration to all people that she works with, workers, foster parents, and biological parents alike.
The Donhauser family is truly a blessing to the foster care team.