Our Mission

To focus on the children we serve with targeted educational and enrichment opportunities that allow each child to fulfill his or her potential.

Our Goal

Of all the children in our community, foster children are the most at-risk of failure.  A contributing factor is that at least 80 percent are removed from their homes due to their parents’ substance abuse and neglect.  There are approximately  400 children in the foster care system in Collier County and only 88 licensed foster homes.  In addition, only 50 percent of foster children graduate high school and only 3 percent graduate college.  Friends of Foster Children Forever strives to fulfill the needs of every child who enters, or is at-risk of entering the foster care system throughout Collier County, regardless of whether they reside in a foster home, with a relative, non-relative, in a shelter or residential facility.

Our History

Friends of Foster Children Forever (previously known as the Foster Care Council) was launched in 1999 by Cathy and Stan Appelbaum and Lynn and Les Schultzel. The first year the organization provided for a handful of children, now we annually serve over 1,200.  In 2000, FFCF was staffed by one part-time director and a handful of very talented and dedicated volunteers. Today, we have 6 full-time employees, and over 150 volunteers.

See How We Help Foster Children in our Community


We have two primary programs that provide services to the children in need, Project Enrichment, and our Academic Mentoring Program. FFCF believes that education is key to breaking the cycle of abuse and neglect and that the children need the tools to thrive, develop a sense of self-esteem and believe that they can succeed.

Academic Mentoring

Provides individualized one-on-one tutoring and mentoring services to the children we serve. Our children are set back educationally every time they experience a placement change or other traumatic event. Most of them are never at one school long enough to adjust to their new surroundings and learn the basic academics and social skills necessary to be a successful student.

Highly trained academic mentors, work one-on-one with our children for up to three hours per week. Students are pre and post-tested to track their progress and accurately assess specific needs. The Academic Mentor provides much needed stability by staying with the child wherever they are placed, from home=to-home or school-to-school. The majority of children are tutored in their classroom at school which allows the tutor to have good communication with the child’s teacher and use the same curriculum as taught in the classroom.

Project Enrichment

Provides activities and needed items to the children we serve so they feel “normal”. It allows our children to take part in a wide range of opportunities, such as karate classes, dance lessons, after-school activities, summer camp, sports teams and music lessons. Project Enrichment also provides birthday and holiday gifts, equipment and school clothing.

Summer Camps

During the long summer vacation months, with the help of Project Enrichment, our children are able to attend summer camps and enjoy field trips and other fun activities. Our hope is to help these children feel “normal” and boost their self-confidence by providing the many vital resources and services they would not otherwise have.

Fundraising Events

FFCF has a signature fundraiser during season, Boots & Boogie Bash. This is a fun-filled high energy fundraiser held at Grey Oaks Country Club, with great music, dancing, dinner and entertainment and where boots, hats and bandanas are the dress code for the evening. The other fundraising event is Sip & Sample at the Village on Venetian Bay where guest stroll around the Village shops enjoying the many different wines and appetizers from around the world.

Our Board

Friends of Foster Children Forever has a very active, 15-member board, plus two founding members: Les Schultzel, MD. and the late Stan Appelbaum. The Board meets six times per years and the 5-member Executive Committee meets monthly. Board member terms of service are two three-year terms.

Our Volunteers

FFCF is blessed to have the support of over 150 volunteers. Our vital programs could not function without the support of these dynamic and dedicated friends. Please see under “How You Can Help: for the many rewarding, volunteer opportunities available.