Foster Care Services
Foster care is designed to provide a temporary home and parenting to children who have been removed from their families due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
Right from the start, foster parents understand that their unique role is to care for children, knowing that the goal is likely to return the child to their birth family, or to relatives.
Foster families receive a daily board rate to assist with meeting the needs of each child in their care. In most cases, Medicaid covers the children's medical expenses. Foster parents are required to be actively involved in working with the child and providing assistance in accessing needed services identified in the child's case plan. This may include providing transportation services and working with the child's birth family.
While a child is in foster care, the court retains jurisdiction to ensure that reasonable efforts are made to achieve permanency for the child within the shortest time possible. Decisions must be based upon the best interest of the child. The agency is required to provide periodic reports to update the court on the family's progress. A permanency hearing is held no later than twelve months after the child enters foster care to determine if reasonable efforts have been made by the agency to achieve the permanency plan.
Foster care services continue until the child achieves permanency either through reunification, relative custody, adoption, or another permanent plan. Once permanency is achieved, after-care services are provided to ensure the child's smooth transition.
Becoming A Foster Parent
Potential foster parents come in all shapes and sizes: married, single, homeowner or apartment resident, with children or without. The basic requirement is the desire to open your home to a child and to provide a safe and loving environment. To become a foster parent with Kids First of Florida, you must be a resident of Clay County, Florida.
Supporting Foster Parents in Our Community
Even if you are not a foster parent, there are many things you can do to support them in your community. For example, you can provide respite care for foster families when they need a break, or have to take care of something. You can donate a gift certificate for a local service, restaurant, or entertainment venue that foster families can use. Several local businesses, churches and civic organizations also donate backpacks, Easter baskets, holiday gifts, and more for our foster families.
Here are some more great ideas on how to support foster families in Clay County from the Florida Department of Children and Families.
Training For Relative Caregivers
The Guardian Assistance Program is a part of the foster care/licensing program with the Florida Department of Children and Families. The program below allows for relative caregivers to become licensed. You will receive some trauma-informed training and once you are licensed, you will receive a higher monthly stipend.