Editor’s Note: This continues our Celebrate Community series on nonprofit organizations that improve Santa Rosa County residents’ quality of life.
MILTON — The National Youth Advocate Program — a national non-profit organization that recruits and educates parents on providing foster homes to children experiencing and array of challenges — is coming up on the one-year anniversary of its Northwest Florida circuit.
The local organization is based in Pensacola, but employees travel to all counties between Walton and Escambia to work with foster families.
“We are currently licensing homes for children and youth ages 10 to 17 with mild to moderate medical, mental health, behavioral and developmental needs,” NYAP therapist Sara Passaro said. “We currently have three enhanced homes and a fourth that is about to open, spanning across Circuit 1.”
NYAP staff are actively recruiting for homes. Foster homes are especially needed in Santa Rosa County, Passaro said, where there are currently no homes able to provide the level of care required for NYAP.
In the coming weeks, NYAP will hold informational sessions across all four Northwest Florida counties that will be posted on their Facebook page, NYAP of NW Florida. Staff will also meet one-on-one with individuals interested in becoming fosters.
When someone decides they are ready to become a foster parent, NYAP schedules trainings, assists with paperwork and helps the prospective foster parent complete all necessary background checks. Once licensed, NYAP staff supports placement stability by providing weekly in home visits, 24/7 support for the foster families and in-home therapy for children and youth in the NYAP homes between one and three days a week.
“At NYAP," Passaro said, "we pride ourselves on being flexible and accommodating all types of different work and life schedules."