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Children’s Network of Southwest Florida to open north county office in Cape Coral
August 9, 2017

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There are more than 1,345 children in Lee County currently receiving foster care or other services stemming from neglect or abuse.

Approximately 350 live in Cape Coral.

Another 121 live in North Fort Myers or "north of the river."

There soon will be another location from which to better serve these children and families in need.

The Children's Network of Southwest Florida, which has two offices in Fort Myers, will open a Cape Coral office next month.

The 12,500-square-foot facility will be at 2503 Del Prado Blvd., third floor, and will employ 48 people who will offer guidance to children who have been victims of abuse, neglect or abandonment.

Nadereh Salim, CEO of Children's Network of Southwest Florida, said she saw a tremendous increase in the number of children and they needed to know where they were coming from.

"Obviously, Cape Coral popped up and we looked at the number of kids in the city. We saw this big pocket of need in Cape Coral and we needed to have a presence in Cape Coral," Salim said. "We hope to be in there by Sept. 1."

The facility will have a visitation room, a foster care area, and an entire wing dedicated to children in the system, Salim said.

"If they're out of school for the day, we can bring them in for some tutoring or we can bring them into the visitation room if they need to talk to their parents," Salim said. "They can have a safe environment to interact with them. Our partner agencies will also have a presence."

Children's Network has many partners with whom they work, including DCF. Many of those partners will have a presence there at some point during the day.

"We're very excited. The Cape Coral community has been so good to us. There are a lot of churches that support us and organizations like the Rotary," Salim said. "We are excited to come into the community and have a presence and show them the kind of need there is."

The Children's Network of Southwest Florida is a not-for-profit child welfare agency, responsible for serving children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned by their families.

The organization has been in the area since 2003, serving more than 2,500 children in the five-county area by providing foster care and adoptions and finding a certain level of permanency for them, Salim said.

There is always an urgent a need for foster homes, emergency shelter and respite homes for children in need.

For more information, call 855-933-KIDS, visit childnetswfl.org. or its Facebook page.

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