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Parenting in a pandemic: First Coast foster mom shares her story

There are more than 1,300 Northeast Florida kids in foster care and that number has exceeded a 10-year high.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — COVID-19 has changed what it looks like to work, go to school and raise a family.

That includes the foster care system, which depends on placing children in safe homes. There are more than 1,300 Northeast Florida kids in foster care and that number has exceeded a 10-year high according to the Florida Department for Children and Families

For Sundy Goodnight, becoming a foster parent was answering a calling to help.

“I went in excited, a little bit nervous, but I knew I wanted to be an answer for a child," Goodnight said.

Goodnight also works a full-time job advocating for foster children and has two at home.

“I have a toddler running around and I’m also homeschooling, so trying to balance all of that at one time has been such a challenge in this season," Goodnight said.

Family Support Services of Northeast Florida CEO Bob Miller knows the situation well. He was a child in the foster care system and is now an adoptive parent working to find homes for others. 

“It's heartening that people step forward and help these children,” Miller explained.

Goodnight said even with the challenges, she is willing to answer the call if another child needs a place to stay.

“Not only do I hope it impacts them, but one of the benefits is that it changes the foster parent," Goodnight said.

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