More than 1,600 Florida foster children will get to spend Christmas with their families, the Department of Children and Families announced Wednesday.
DCF’s “Home for the Holidays” initiative accelerates adoption paperwork and visitation requests so children can spend time with their adoptive or biological families over the holidays.
“Time with family around the holidays is the best gift we can give to our children, including those in foster care,” DCF Secretary Mike Carroll said. “An important part of our mission in serving families is to help bring joy to children and caregivers as they begin the process of healing.”
DCF said 1,347 children will spend time with their siblings, parents and extended family this Christmas, and another 266 foster children will spend their first Christmas with their adoptive family.
Last month, the initiative helped 1,025 children spend Thanksgiving with their biological families and accelerated permanent placements for another 374 children.
Home for the Holidays brings together community-based care lead agencies, attorneys, judges, guardians, foster families and case managers to help get the state’s foster children in a family environment over the holidays. The initiative requires fast-tracked background screenings, court orders and travel arrangements.
DCF said the state’s 18 community-based care agencies will pick up the tab for travel costs if a child’s family cannot afford it.