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Volunteers With A Voice Make Difference In Foster Care System

MIAMI (CBS4) -- In the wake of the Nubia Barahona family tragedy, the challenges of the foster care system have been realized along with the deadly consequences of its flaws.

South Floridians have reached out wondering what could be done to help, so this week Neighbors 4 Neighbors highlights one of the most effective ways everyday citizens can make a difference.

"We involve the community in the care of children that are in foster care," explained Ana Maria Pozo, Executive Director of the Foster Care Review.

They're volunteers with a voice, in what's been called a challenged system.

"We recruit volunteers from the community and we train them to serve on the citizen review panels," said Pozo.

Volunteers from the Foster Care Review provide a checks and balance for the courts by monitoring agencies and cases firsthand.

"If there's no independent oversight, of this very complex thing that's happening, then it frequently doesn't happen," explained Mike Samway, a volunteer with the Foster Care Review for the past three years.

From ensuring that services are provided and that progress is made, Foster Care Review volunteers advise the family court judges and help fill the gaps for those in Foster Care.

"It is such a complex system and there are so many people involved in so many things, that you need people to push the system along, to motivate action, to monitor what the agencies are doing," said Pozo.

Dedicating just one day a month, these volunteers effectuate change for a lifetime.

"Everything seems to be going against them, yet somehow they're resilient, and that's so beautiful to see," said Samway.

The Foster Care Review can't continue their important work without volunteers. If you'd like to get involved, call Neighbors 4 Neighbors at (305) 597-4404.

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