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Better Together: Helping struggling families during times of crisis

There’s a desperate need to help families who have been left with nothing.

They don’t need help with a job or food—but these families need someone to take their children so they can get back on their feet.

A program called “Better Together” is changing the trajectory of families’ lives every day.

In about six weeks, Alexis Hinson will welcome a new baby boy during a pandemic.

“Only one person is allowed in the delivery room,” said Hinson.

She’s a single mom with twin six-year-olds and a one-year-old at home.

“I let them know that they are going to be staying with Julie so that mommy can heal,” said Hinson.

Julie Flynn will be taking in Alexis’ children when their mommy goes into labor.

“The fact that we could come and be that support system for them is just amazing,” said Flynn.

The women were strangers before this—Julie and her husband Robert and their son met Alexis for the first time just recently.

“It’s a privilege to contribute to a system that’s helping keep kids out of the foster care system,” said Robert Flynn.

“Better Together’s” goal is “keeping children out of the foster system by empowering families in crisis.”

CEO Megan Rose used to be a case manager—then directed a foster agency.

“The system is needed but it’s strained and it doesn’t always have the best results for children,” said Rose.

She connects host families like the Flynns with parents in need—about 60-percent of referrals come from the Florida Department of Children and Families.

“DCF goes out and visits a family, there’s no abuse or neglect but a family is in crisis so they will give our information to these families and they will voluntarily reach out,” said Rose.

Alexis needs help short-term—but “Better together” has taken a child for up to a year to help parents struggling with substance abuse or homelessness.

“We want to care for those children short term. Give them peace of mind that their children are safe so that they can get a job, they can save up money, they can get into housing,” said Rose.

Alexis says that the peace of mind is priceless.

“I just never saw myself in this situation, but every day I wake up and I look at myself in the mirror just like Julie told me and I tell myself I’ve got this,” said Hinson.

Megan says homelessness is their top reason a family needs them. She worries with so many of our neighbors losing jobs, the need in a month will be massive, so they’re looking for more host families now.

If you would like to help or need help yourself, you can find the information on the Better Together website here.

Reporter:Lindsey Sablan
Writer:Lincoln Saunders
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