Adoption Support & Resources

Heartland for Children strives to provide a multitude of resources and supports to adoptive parents, as we understand that adoption is a lifelong process.  Our resources and links below are a glimpse of some of the recommended material for adoptive or prospective adoptive parents. 

Community Resources

Community Resources

Hope Florida - A Pathway to Prosperity

Uniting communities through Hope Navigators to guide Floridians on an individualized path to prosperity, economic self-sufficiency and hope. If you need to connect with a Hope Navigator, call 850-300-HOPE.


Looking for resources or programs near you?

Visit for a searchable database–simply enter your zip code to find programs and services near YOU!



Located in the heart of Lakeland, the Carol Jenkins Barnett United Way Children’s Resource Center is a community-based learning and resource center that provides classes, playgroups, workshops, developmental checkups, community activities, and support for parents and caregivers of children aged 0-6, as well as for expectant moms and dads. They strive to make childhood a happy, healthy, and wholesome experience for every child and parent in Polk County.

United Way's 211

211 is a vital service that connects millions of people to help every year. To get expert, caring help, simply call 211 or visit


The mission of the Early Learning Coalition of Polk County is to provide leadership, direction, and integrated resource management for quality services that support our vision of success for children. Their vision is that all children enter school healthy, ready and eager for lifelong learning with the collaborative support of parents, families, educators, and the community.

The Early Learning Coalition of Florida's Heartland's goal is to ensure young children in Charlotte, DeSoto, Hardee and Highlands counties have access to high quality early care and education programs. A high quality early care and education program is one that is filled with rich and creative experiences, a developmentally appropriate environment and caring teachers who sincerely connect with young children. Such a program can truly help a young child prepare for school success!

Charlie Health offers Free Parent Support Groups for parents, grandparents or guardians of teens, young adults, LGBTQIA+, Parent Support for Families of Color, El Grupo de Cuidores en Espanol and Neurodivergent youth.

Post Adoption

Post Adoption

Are you an adoptive parent and need support and resources? 

The State of Florida offers post adoption services to adoptive families. These types of services may include tuition waiver, mental health support groups, linkage to community resources and access to a Post Adoption Specialist to provide guidance.

  • Maintenance Subsidy: A monthly subsidy may be paid to the adoptive family to meet the needs of the child as requirements are adhered to until the age of 18. The first subsidy check arrives 6 to 8 weeks after adoption finalization. The adoption subsidy includes Medicaid coverage, and both will continue to age 18.
  • Federal Tax Credit: Families that adopt special needs children may be eligible for a tax credit on their federal income taxes. Please follow up with your tax professional for more information on tax credits available to adoptive families.
  • College Assistance for Adopted Children: Children that are adopted through the Department of Children and Families after May 5, 1997, may be eligible to receive a college tuition waiver at Florida public universities, colleges and vocational training schools.
  • Post Adoption Specialist: Heartland for Children’s Post Adoption Specialist is available to answer any questions you may have and assist to ensure the continuity of services, Medicaid and adoption subsidy.
  • Children adopted at age 16 or 17 may be eligible for an extended subsidy up to age 21 if they are participating in certain qualifying activities, such as ongoing education or employment.

Contact our Post Adoption Specialist at 863-519-8900 x 232.

Helpful Links

Helpful Links

Adoption Support Groups

Adoption Support Groups

Most parents in Polk, Highlands and Hardee Counties agree that they can be better parents with support. There are a number of support groups are available for foster and adoptive families in Circuit 10. Explore below to see which group(s) might be right for you!

Ametheo - Home | Facebook

Check out Ametheo for Mom's Mornings, Mom and Me, and Family Support Group. For more information on upcoming support groups, contact Marlynn Pharnes, LMCH at 863-224-2408.

TLC (Tender Loving Caregivers) is an association of Foster, Adoptive, Relative/Non-Relative Careigvers, and Independent Living Children that gather together for monthly training and support meetings and events. They offer a wide range of services to our families. 

Visit their website: for more information, to join, and meeting schedules.

Check out their Facebook Group: TLC Association, Inc -


Medical & Dental

Medical & Dental

Log in, find doctors and dentists/providers/hospitals, learn about Healthy Kids and more at  Contact Member Services at (866) 796-0530 or TDD/TTY: (800) 955-8770. Business hours are Monday - Friday 8AM - 8PM.

Needing any assistance with Sunshine Health? Contact Heartland for Children's Post-Adoption Specialist at 863-519-8900 x 232.

Be sure to check out the latest Sunshine Health Newsletter.

Recommended Reading

Recommended Reading
  1. The boy who was raised as a dog, Bruce D. Perry & Maia Szalavitz
  2. Parenting the Hurt Child – Helping Adoptive Families Heal and Grow, Gregory Keck & Regina Kupecky
  3. Parenting from the Inside Out, Daniel Siegel
  4. Beyond Logic, Consequences, and Control, Heather Forbes & Brian Post
  5. Attaching in Adoption – Practical Tools for Today’s Parents, Deborah D. Gray
  6. The Connected Child, Karen Purvis
  7. Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting, Laura Markham
  8. No-Drama Discipline, Tina Payne Bryson & Daniel Siegel
  9. The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind, Daniel J Siegel & Tina P. Bryson
  10. Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control, Heather Forbes & B. Post
  11. How it Feels to be Adopted, Jill Krementz
  12. A Child Called It, Dave Pelzer
  13. The Lost Boy, Dave Pelzer
  14. A Man Named Dave, Dave Pelzer
  15. The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, Bruce D. Perry
  16. Parenting From the Inside Out, Daniel Siegel
  17. Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain, Daniel Siegel
  18. The 5 Love Languages of Children,  Gary Chapman & Ross Campbell
  19. The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, Bessel Van der Kolk
  20. Unconditional Parenting, Alfie Kohn
  21. Three Little Words: A Memoir, Ashley Rhodes-Courter
  22. Three More Words, Ashley Rhodes-Courter
  23. Are We There Yet?, Susan Badeau

Payment Calendar

Payment Calendar
  • 2023 Payment Calendar - Adoption Subsidy (download)
  • 2024 Payment Calendar - Adoption Subsidy (download)

Virtual Training

Virtual Training

Adoption 101 Preliminary Training and Quiz

Adoption 101: Class 1 Presentation / Class 1 Homework / Class 1 Reading

Adoption 101: Class 2 Presentation / Class 2 Homework / Class 2 Reading

Adoption 101: Class 3 Presentation / Class 3 Homework / Class 3 Reading

Adoption 101: Class 4 Presentation / Class 4 HomeworkClass 4 Reading

Adoption 101: Class 5 Presentation / Class 5 Homework / Class 5 Reading

Adoption 101: Class 6 Presentation / Class 6 Homework / Class 6 Reading

Adoption 101: Class 7 Presentation / Class 7 Homework / Class 7 Reading

Psychotropic Medication Training Link

Educational Advocacy for Caregivers Video

Educational Advocacy for Caregivers Quiz