40 Under 40: Mother of 4, CEO keeping SWFL children out of foster care

Published: September 21, 2022 12:43 PM EDT
Updated: September 21, 2022 12:45 PM EDT

One of Gulfshore Business’ 40 Under 40 nominees for 2022 is a woman whose goal goes beyond Southwest Florida, as she works to keep families together and out of the foster care system.

Megan Rose, a mother of four and CEO of Better Together, knows it takes a village to raise a child

“My family really struggled, Rose said. “My dad ended up in prison and my parents had to navigate through a lot of really difficult challenges. A local church and volunteers came alongside our family and supported us.”

With help from strangers, her family stayed together. Those childhood experiences led Rose to a career in foster care.

“I loved working with children and families in the system, but it just felt so reactive, and I wanted to be part of a solution,” Rose said. “How can we be more proactive? How can we engage the community to be more involved?”

When Rose was 7 months pregnant with her first child, she took a leap of faith and started Better Together, a non-profit designed to keep children out of what she describes as an overwhelmed foster care system. Children live with vetted volunteer families while their parents work through a medical emergency, a jail sentence, or maybe just find a new job.

The average stay is a mere 41 days.

“These are parents that love their children, but a lot of them don’t have education, don’t have a support system, they’re mimicking what they learned from their parents; it’s really generational,” Rose said.

Rose has personally cared for more than 20 children in her own home.

“I think how you spend your energy and how you spend your time is really important,” Rose said. “It’s kind of taken time and trial and error and figuring out what works well and giving yourself a lot of grace, because we’re not perfect. There’s good days and there’s hard days and just push through knowing you have a strong support system.”

With that support system, Better Together has helped 3,800 children over six years. Rose says her nonprofit couldn’t keep families together without a generous Southwest Florida community. Most of what the organization has was donated. Rose says generosity, compassion, love and kindness are the fuel that keeps her village growing and thriving.

“We get to see the best, I think, in humanity: Volunteers, strangers loving other people in the community and believing in them and helping them reach their potential,” Rose said. “We believe everybody can be a part of the solution. Everybody can do something to make our community a better place.”

Better Together also hosts successful job fairs. One out of four applicants get a job offer on the spot. Rose says she wants to bring her Better Jobs program to 200 cities across the country.

To learn more about the 39 other professionals in 2022’s Gulfshore Business 40 Under 40 class, watch the full special online.