About Fostering Our Future

Grace Landing

Grace Landing originally opened in April 2010 as an independent living transition home for aged-out foster youth and homeless boys. As the need for a place for youth aging out of foster care to call home grew, Juda Attkisson began dreaming of how to grow Grace Landing’s impact to find a home for Florida’s foster children beyond Central Florida.

Our History

  • 2009:
    • The Osceola County Commission voted to lease Grace Landing, a home that the county owned.
  • 2010:
    • Grace Landing opened its doors and began serving boys aged 18-23.
  • 2011:
    • Grace Landing received its “Child Placing License” to begin recruiting, licensing, and supporting foster families.
  • 2012:
    • Grace Landing began its contract with CBC of Central Florida to begin recruiting foster families, licensing, and support services.
    • Grace Landing opened up its 2nd boy's home for boys 18-23.
  • 2014
    • Grace Landing partnered with FaithBridge Foster Care to do a Landscape study for the Tri-county foster care district.
    • Grace Landing opened a family-style group home for foster care teenaged boys.
  • 2016
    • Grace Landing contracted with Bill Hancock, Fostering America’s Future, to begin Fostering Our Future, an initiative for Grace Landing.
    • Grace Landing launched FOF with 4 Osceola County churches: The Vine, Freedom Life, Living Waters Fellowship, and Kissimmee Christian Church.
  • 2020
    • The Covid-19 Pandemic hit the United States. The strain on Fostering Our Future was real, however, by the grace of God we were able to able to continue serving foster families in Orlando with the help of First Baptist Church Orlando.
  • 2021
    • We celebrated as we received funding from the state of Florida for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. We were able to start growing again.
  • 2022
    • The state of Florida once again blessed us with increased funding for the 2022-2023 fiscal year, and Fostering Our Future expanded to NE Florida, Duval County.
    • Fostering Our Future launched Project 100 with the goal of equipping 100 local churches to recruit, train, and support foster families and 100 Families to help families in challenging circumstances move from crisis to stability to thriving.
    • We launched the State and DCF-approved “Foundations for Strong Families and Supportive Communities” pre-license online training available statewide.
  • 2023
    • Orlando continues to thrive and our Foundation’s training continues to gain momentum with each class growing in numbers.
  • 2024
    • Fostering Our Future launched the Florida Project 100 Alliance to implement the Central Florida Child Welfare Advisory and Citizen Review Panel for Circuit 9 (Orange & Osceola counties) and Circuit 18 (Bravard & Seminole counties).

Founder's Story

I’ll never forget the first time I felt the tug on my heart in response to the foster care crisis. I was sitting in a meeting in the State House during the 2008 legislative session, listening to stories of how Orlando youth that were aging out of foster care were being dropped off at the homeless shelter with their belongings in a garbage bag on their 18th birthday. It broke my heart. That next summer, I applied for nonprofit status for Grace Landing with the support of five local churches. The problem we planned to tackle went beyond youth aging out of foster care and needing a place to call home – it was the fact that these youth needed the positive intervention of a stable, quality home when they first entered the system.

We also believed that it was not enough to give the child a home. There was also a need to ensure that a community was in place to uplift, support and care for the foster family. This gave foster children the benefit of the love and support of an extended family, but also provided the foster families with the help they needed to continue their work of fostering year after year and not quit. Foster family retention was an important piece of the puzzle, because then as a child aged out, they could stay at home, finish school and still get the support they needed from a loving family and church, just like we do with our own children.

With that in mind, we rolled up our sleeves and got to work. In 2010, Grace Landing started a committee to “Engage the Church in Foster Care.” In 2011, we held our first Foster Care Conference, we received our child placing agency license that October, and in January of 2012, we began recruiting foster families from churches, but it was challenging work. Churches were willing to let us recruit from the pulpit, but pastors were unsure how to help support the families that wanted to foster.

Despite challenges and setbacks, our ministry continued to grow. We started “Paddle to Independence” and worked with youth from the Children’s Home in St Cloud before they aged out. Mentors from First Baptist Kissimmee were recruited, Gaylord and TJMaxx worked with our boys on interviewing and work skills. We set up two homes for homeless boys, a group home for teenage foster boys and began placing homeless girls with families from local churches including The Vine, Kissimmee Christian, and Freedom Life Church. We were stepping up and helping children in need, but we were not solving the problem.

We realized that what foster children needed in addition to a stable family, was Christ, and in order to have a bigger and more permanent impact, the church just needed to be educated on the steps and support that could be given to solve the foster care problem. So that’s what Grace Landing did. In April of 2016, we took the next step and started a new initiative, Fostering our Future. We brought on Bill Hancock, from FaithBridge Foster Care, who had a proven ministry model, and by August of that same year four churches launched. Since then, Fostering Our Future continues to grow and publishes a scorecard several times a year outlining how we are doing building capacity, stability, and quality to support foster children in Central Florida.

With the passing of my husband and my children moving all to the Ft. Worth area, I knew it was time to turn the work over to someone who could take Fostering Our Future to the next level, and so I passed the baton to Bill. Fostering Our Future is Bill’s model, his research, and I believe wholeheartedly that there is no better person to carry on Grace Landing than him. We are a great team and I am grateful to God for his provision and knowing that Grace Landing/Fostering our Future will continue to build capacity, stability and quality within our foster care system and support our foster families.

God calls the church to care for the orphan. He calls us, places that love and desire to care for foster children on our hearts, and it does something to us that is hard to explain. It’s personal and hits us all differently. Some will be called to foster, and others to support those who foster. I encourage and implore you to search your heart to see how you can help support these children in need. What the church can do is powerful, but we cannot do it without your help.

Until every child has a loving Christian home,
Juda Attkisson, Founder

×