Foster Care

What is foster care?

Foster care is a system that provides temporary care for children who are unable to live with their biological parents due to abuse, neglect, abandonment or having special needs. Foster parents provide a temporary loving, safe, and secure home-like setting for children while their parents are working towards reunification. Currently, our GREATEST need is for quality foster parents who will care for teens, sibling groups and children with special needs.  

Children can be removed from their homes (at no fault of their own) due to abuse, abandonment and neglect. When removed, we first try to identify relatives or non-relatives that are familiar with the child, but if they cannot be identified, these children are then placed in a foster home.

Children of all ages, races and genders, from newborns to teenagers are in foster care. These children have experienced trauma and need someone to care for and support them so they can heal and thrive. The goal of foster care is to provide safe and loving homes to children until they're able to find permanency through reunification, permanent guardianship or adoption.

Are you willing to open your heart and home?

If you're located in Polk, Highlands or Hardee Counties, we'd love to connect with you at 863-519-8900 x 289.

If you're outside of these counties, we'd recommend you connect with your local agency.

Questionnaire: Is Foster Care Right for Me & My Family?

Questionnaire: Is Foster Care Right for Me & My Family?

Why Foster Care?

Why Foster Care?

As of March 2023, there are approximately 1293 children in out-of-home care in our circuit and 460 of these are placed in a foster (levels 2-5) or group home setting. 

  • Of these, 109 are in group care home settings.
  • 75 of our children are placed in foster homes or group care home settings out of this circuit. 
  • Of the 109 children in group care settings, 85 of these are teens. 

These children need a chance to live in a traditional family setting, play sports and learn how to make plans for college or the career of their choice. For this reason, our goal is to license at least 60 more homes in order to meet the needs of teenagers in our community.  We utilize a matching system which tries to match children to a family with similar likes. 

Foster Caregivers are the key to unlocking children’s futures and the healing agents in allowing a child to heal from the trauma they have experienced. Every child deserves to live in a traditional family setting and in order to make this a reality, we need more foster homes in all of our communities. Please assist us in sharing our current need for additional quality foster homes for teenagers and siblings in this community.

The Process

The Process

1. Call 863-519-8900 x 289 and complete a 10-minute phone interview to determine eligibility.

2. Register for our next Foster Care Info Session. These occur in-person once a month and a virtual option is also available.

3.  Sign-Up for one of our 4-Week Foster Care Classes. We have new classes beginning every month with virtual, in-person, weeknight and weekend options to help fit your schedule. 

4. Complete classes and turn in homework to your assigned Licensing Counselor. We're proud to share that most of our families are licensed and accepting placements within 30 days of completing class.

Myths & Facts

Myths & Facts

There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to foster care. Let's get the facts straight, check out our most common Foster Care Myths & Facts.

Success Stories

Success Stories

We have an incredible community of foster families that have opened their hearts and homes to children who have experienced abuse and neglect. Read some of their success stories.

 

Info Nights & Classes

Info Nights & Classes

Are you considering opening your heart + home to children in need? Foster Care Info Nights are for anyone and everyone interested in finding out what it takes to become a foster caregiver. They are free and non-committal. Simply come, listen, and ask questions.

Next Foster Care Info Night:

Monday, March 4th at 6:30PM

1239 E Main St. Bartow, FL 33830 (2nd Floor)

To reserve your spot, call 863-519-8900 x289 or fill the form at https://heartlandforchildren.org/become

 

Every month we start new 4-Week Foster Care Classes and offer virtual, hybrid and in-person classes. You MUST pre-register, and it is preferred that you have previously attended one of our free Foster Care Info Sessions. 

Upcoming Classes:?

  • 4-Week Hybrid Foster Class Every Tues/Thurs starting Tuesday, March 26 from 6PM-9PM (classes held virtually and in-person at offices in Bartow)
  • 4-Week Hybrid Foster Class Every Saturday starting March 30 from 10AM-3:30PM (classes held virtually and in-person at offices in Bartow)
  • 4-Week Hybrid Foster Class Every Saturday starting May 4 from 10AM-3:30PM (classes held virtually and in-person at offices in Bartow)
  • 4-Week Hybrid Foster Class Every Tues/Thurs starting Tuesday, May 7 from 6PM-9PM (classes held virtually and in-person at offices in Bartow)

To register for one of our upcoming classes, call 863-519-8900 x 289.

Share the Need

Share the Need

Share a Video

We have a variety of videos that you can utilize to share the urgent need for foster families in Polk, Highlands and Hardee Counties.

Share Brochures/Flyers

We can send you brochures, posters and/or flyers to share about foster care.