Caregiver Support Program

CAREGIVER SUPPORT PROGRAM
A program for relatives and fictive kin caring for children in Florida’s foster care system. Serving POLK, HIGHLANDS, & HARDEE Counties.  A program provided in partnership with the Florida Department of Children and Families.

WHAT’S CAREGIVER SUPPORT?
Caregiver Support is a program to provide supports and financial resources to your family as you care for a child who was removed from their home. 
We hope that this program is a temporary resource while the child’s parents work through challenges they need to in order for the child(ren) to safely return home. However, if this is not possible and you are given the opportunity to become a permanent guardian to the child(ren), this program will ensure you are able to recieve ongoing Guardianship Assistance until the child(ren) reaches adulthood.

THE BENEFITS OF  CAREGIVER SUPPORT
• Child recieves Medicaid to cover medial, dental, and behavioral health services
• Training on how to better meet the needs of a child who’s experienced trauma
• Access to addiotional trainings that may help your family Connections to community resources
• Monthly stipend of $333 a month upon completion of onboarding process

WHO DO I WORK WITH?
You will work with many people within the child welfare system throughout the life of the case. You’ve probably already met the Child Protective Investigator or Case Manager who did an initial home check to place the child(ren) with you. Now you’ll have another added resource with the Caregiver Support program who will help ensure you are recieveing all the benefits you are now eligible for.

WHAT CAN I EXPECT?
Mainly, you will be provided a few training hours that better repare you for this new role, such as training on the child welfare system and how trauma impacts children. There may also be a small amount of additional paperwork to complete. You will also begin recieving a higher monthly stipend once you complete the initial requirements of the Caregiver Support program. This $333 a month will continue as long as you have the child in your legal custody, even until the child turns 18 if the case closes with you as the permanent guardian.

WHAT HAPPENS IF A CHILD CAN’T GO HOME?
Participating in the Caregiver Support program for six consecuative months will prepare you to become the child’s permanent guardian, should the court choose this as a goal. 
If you become a permanent guardian, you will complete a Guardianship Assistance Agreement. This agreement will ensure you continue to recieve the $333 monthly until the child turns 18. 
If the child in your home is 16 or older when you become the permanent guardian, you will also be able to opt in to Extended Guardianship Assistance that will carry the stipend on until the child turns 21, provided they are attending school or working. For some children, the court will determine that adoption is a more appropriate goal, and you will be given the opportunity to apply to adopt the child after the rights of the parents are terminated. 


The team at Heartland for Children is ready to help you. Please call 863-519-8900  Ext. 305 to learn more.