By Michelle L. Cramer
For six years, Mike Hansen and his wife, Cynthia, were foster parents through an organization called 4Kids of South Florida. The couple, who own REC Pool & Spa in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, do business in an area of Broward County with a high population of children in need of foster homes: According to 4Kids, 188 children were taken from homes and in need of a place to stay last year.
“You have kids where their parents are in jail, on drugs or possibly even dead — and the kids need a home,” Hansen says. “There’s a huge need in this community for people who are willing to open up a bedroom and bring a child in. You have these wonderful kids who are stuck in facilities — they have been turned away because no one was available [to take them].”
Because children are often taken out of their home with only the clothes on their back, it costs about $4,500 to provide a child basic needs, like a bed and clothing, in a foster home. While the Hansens aren’t currently fostering, REC Pool & Spa makes a monthly contribution to the 4Kids of South Florida organization to help offset the high costs associated with giving children a safe place to stay.