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Children’s Guardian Fund

The Children’s Guardian Fund (CGF) provides funding to meet emergency needs and enable normalcy and enrichment in the lives of the 750+ children in foster and state care in Manatee County.

Normalcy and Enrichment Program

Most children in foster care come from chaotic and abusive environments. Many have never had a birthday cake, a book, or a stuffed animal, much less the calm, undivided attention of an adult in their lives. Their needs range from the profound to the more mundane. Guardian ad Litem child advocates apply for funding through the CGF to provide simple needs such as a prom dress or soccer cleats, or life-changing experiences such as tutoring, specialized summer camps or music, art, or sports lessons. Each request is tailored to a particular child’s physical and emotional well-being.

Academic tutoring is especially important for this at-risk population. Children who have been removed from their parents due to abuse or neglect are nearly always way behind their peers in school. Because removals are usually emergencies, the children are placed wherever a place can be found, and then they are moved, again and again, an average of 2.5 times per school year, all while dealing with the loss of parental support and various childhood traumas. Professional one-on-one tutoring targets the knowledge gaps created by frequent moves and parental neglect and teaches the children learning habits to empower them in the classroom.

Because state funding is limited, children only receive the basics but not the normal opportunities and enrichment that help them achieve their potential emotional, intellectual, and social growth. Support from community partners like the Bishop Parker Foundation ensures that children spending precious years of their childhood living with strangers in temporary housing arrangements experience all the important childhood opportunities that children in traditional family settings have.