Nearly 1,400 Florida children in foster care will spend Thanksgiving with their families and loved ones as part of a Department of Children and Families initiative.
The “Home for the Holidays” initiative, announced by DCF Secretary Mike Carroll Wednesday, will reunite 1,025 children with siblings, parents and extended family for Thanksgiving.
“We often take for granted the family and friends around the Thanksgiving dinner table. For children in care, the opportunity to be reunited with family or adopted into a home they’ve been longing for is priceless,” Carroll said. “Our mission is to not only protect children and teens from abuse and neglect, but also to help bring joy to children as they begin the process of healing.”
Getting the go-ahead for Florida foster children to spend the day with their biological families requires collaboration among community-based care agencies, attorneys, judges, guardians, foster families and case managers, DCF said.
The initiative also requires expedited background screenings, court orders and travel arrangements in many circumstances. If families cannot afford travel expenses, DCF said the state’s community-based care agencies will foot the bill.
The Home for the Holidays initiative also fast tracks adoptions for families waiting on approval, and DCF said 374 Florida children will spend their first Thanksgiving with their adoptive family because of the program.