PENSACOLA — The National Youth Advocate Program, expanding on program success originated in Broward and Palm Beach counties, has partnered with the Families First Network, a child welfare agency in Pensacola, to recruit, train, license and support foster parents in Northwest Florida.

NYAP’s goal is to provide enhanced, therapeutic foster homes for youths in foster care, between the ages of newborn and 18 years old, experiencing challenges related to ongoing medical issues, mental and behavioral health, substance use or gender identity.

The Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce has welcomed NYAP as a new member. A ceremonial ribbon cutting in honor of the organization’s new regional office is set Tuesday, June 20 at 3:30 p.m. at the chamber’s 5247 Stewart St. headquarters in Milton. NYAP’s main regional office is located at 1924 N. Palafox Ave., in Pensacola.

Currently, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton and Escambia counties need 75 to 80 placements for children in care. These additional homes would assist in reducing the number of children placed in shelters, separated from siblings, and the number of children in group homes or placements that do not adequately address the individual needs of a child, according to a media release.