Our Kids of Miami Dade and Monroe counties gathered to honor the exceptional foster and adoptive parents of our communities. The parents who received the “Heroes for Our Kids Award” were Catrina and Gordon Risher (Key Largo), Tilza and Claudio Caceres (Aventura), Ruth and Kevin McCannn (Miami Beach), William Preswood (Kendall), who was awarded foster parent of the year, Dorothy Blount (Opa Locka), and Adah and William Clark (Homestead).
These parents were awarded not only for their effort in taking care of these children, but also for their active involvement in their life, their support, and their love towards the children. These parents have been strong when dealing with difficult situations and have provided unconditional care to every kid they have fostered. They have gone beyond the regular duties of every foster parent and have provided these children with a home.
Catrina and Gordon Risher
Catrina is truly a super hero for Our Kids and is a role model Quality Parenting Initiative foster parent. In addition to ensuring the children in her home are well loved and cared for, Catrina attends all staffing and court hearings for each of her three foster children.
Catrina communicates on a regular basis with the custodial grandmother of two of the children in her home and keeps her involved in their life by inviting her to dance recitals and ensuring that the children spend their Sundays with the grandmother at church. Catrina is now helping the grandmother find a suitable home so that the children can be reunified. As well, Catrina goes out of her way to not only support sibling visitations but also to create fun activities and outings for the kids to spend time together. She maintains contact with all children and families that she has had in her home and always offers support to assure the families have whatever is needed to safely and comfortably care for the children.
She has proven to be selfless in regards to her feelings and supports the courts’ decisions in what is in the best interest of the children. Able to put her heartache and concerns aside, Catrina initiates communication and support to biological families. She has also demonstrated a strength that is not often found, in that she doesn’t hesitate to report documented facts in court. She continues to work with the families and acts as a positive role model.
Tilza and Claudio Caceres
While in the process of becoming licensed foster parents, Tilza and Claudio Caceres willingly accepted a non-relative placement of an infant who was in need of a safe and loving environment. They were opened and willing to co-parent with the infant’s teenage parent and so they did without any reservations. The teenage mother shared that Tilza made her feel valued and respected because she consulted her on matters concerning her son. Unfortunately, there was a turn of events and the biological mother passed away. However, she had requested that if she was unable to regain custody of her child, she wanted Tilza and Claudio to adopt the child. She had seen the love and care that the family had demonstrated and was happy that her son was in excellent hands.
Ruth and Kevin McCannn
Although Ruth and Kevin McCann have not been licensed for many years, they have had to quickly become seasoned foster parents given all the challenges they have undergone with a child that was placed with them. They have become true advocates for this child, reaching out to their community in search of resources and services to help her. They participate in court hearings, take the child to all medical appointments, have made the child an integral member of their family and have taken her on all their family trips. Since this child has been with them, she has been able to make remarkable strides thanks to their love, commitment and dedication.
William Preswood takes the hardest to place population; teen boys with difficult issues such as run-aways, aggressive personalities, drug use, etc. He takes them with him to all his vacations and is on top of their education, making sure they are on track, getting them into night school, virtual school, and what ever is needed for the children to succeed in school. William transports the kids everywhere they need to go: medical appointments, school when it’s out of district, office appointments, independent living trainings, etc. He has adopted a teen boy and is interested in adopting other teen boys. William is an all around good parent and is very approachable to the children, listening, talking, advising, and guiding them in everything they need.
Ms. Blount takes difficult to place teenage girls without hesitancy and provides them with love, guidance, and all the tools necessary to become a productive citizen of society. Ms. Blount networks in the community to connect the children to different activities, organizations, and role models who provide them with direction and aspiring goals. Additionally, Ms. Blount makes every effort to co-parent and attend all court hearings for the children placed in her home. She maintains open communication with all partners within the child welfare system to ensure the health, safety, and well being of all her children. Ms. Blount makes her educational development as a foster parent a priority by attending general foster parent meetings, in-service trainings, and statewide foster care conferences. It is also important to note that Ms. Blount has been given recognition from various state organizations and local cities for the quality of care she provides.
Adah and William Clark
Adah and William have been foster parents for two years and in that limited amount of time they have made an enormous difference in many of the children’s lives. Ms. Clark is always willing to help in any way she can and is always recruiting and actively searching for quality foster parents. Adah has taken her role as a foster parent very seriously and is even part of the legislative team with Our Kids in order to make a difference in the foster care system. Ms. Clark is one of the best advocates that Children’s Home Society has. She is always willing and open to assist in all areas of caring for children whether it is co-parenting and/or serving as a source of information in regards to parenting in our community.
We believe these parents are exceptional members of our communities and thought you might want to share their stories with your readers. Please let me know if you have any questions.