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Regional foster care program seeks additional fund to finish project

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By Mark Scohier

A charity organization dedicated to keeping foster children from the same family together is looking for donations.

“These kids come from very difficult backgrounds, circumstances and traumatic situations,” said Denny George, president of the non-profit group Friends of Children of North Central Florida.

A new facility, which broke ground Nov. 2 at its Gainesville location, aims to lessen the stress on these children by helping to keep siblings together in the same home, George said. The facility, which will serve children throughout North Central Florida, including Levy County, is expected to be able to accommodate between 20 and 32 children.

“To feel that it’s actually happening is fantastic,” George said, adding that people are happy to see their donation finally going to use. The project has been in the works for about 10 years.

But only part of the facility’s construction is underway, and it will cost about $600,000 out of the $2 million already raised for construction and costs associated with running the facility.

“Unit 2 is still needing to be funded,” he said.

Other than building homes for foster children, George said the foundation also serves as an agent to promote awareness in the community about at-risk children.

“About 70 kids every month enter the foster care system, “George said, “and the state is just inundated.”

The problem has grown over the years, he said.

“As the economy has not been good, all of the same stresses that existed before now exist to a greater degree.”

For more information about the organization or how to make a donation, visit www.focncf.org, or email questions to info@focncf.org.