Hillsborough Community Atlas
Hillsborough Community Atlas
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Locations / Demographics of Kids in Foster Care
What does this mean?

Eckerd Community Alternatives — Hillsborough (Eckerd) is the lead Community Based Care agency for Hillsborough County responsible for children served in the child welfare system. Eckerd assumed this responsibility on July 1, 2012.

Eckerd believes that the child protection system should be a resource for families – not a substitute for them – and that healthy, capable children come from healthy, capable families. Everything we do at Eckerd is based on the belief that the children, families and communities we serve always come first – and we embrace four main child welfare principles of Safety, Quality, Accountability, and Transparency. It is our tireless commitment, passion, and systemic approach to each of these that sets us apart and gives us the best opportunity for quality outcomes for children and families.

We will continue to engage and partner with the community to help us build a strong, safe system of care that is truly "community-based".

For their safety and well-being, children removed from their home are placed either in relatives' homes, non-relative's homes, foster homes or licensed placement. It is Eckerd’s priority to place children with relatives when possible and to the closest proximity to their removal home. This helps to ensure stability and normalcy.

The six current location type categories shown in the data table are: 1) Adoptive Home; 2) Group Care; 3) In-Home Care; 4) Licensed Family Care; 5) Non-Licensed Family Care; and 6) Other. The respective definitions for each follow.

  1. Adoptive Home - Children living in a home where there is the intention to adopt, but where the adoption has not been finalized.
  2. Group Care - Children living in residential facilities, including shelter care that has staff overseeing care of groups of children (can be more than 12 children or less than 12 children, usually residing by age groups).
  3. In-Home Care - Children either still living with their parents or a caregiver that have not been removed from their home, or those who have been returned to their home.
  4. Licensed Family Care - Children living in a family setting, like traditional foster care, that is licensed and funded by the State.
  5. Non-Licensed Family Care - Children staying with relatives (e.g., non-offending parent, aunt, uncle, brother, sister, grandparent, etc.) in a family setting. May be one of two types: relatives, or non-relatives (neighbor, family friend, other caregiver, etc.).
  6. Other - Children in institutional settings such as a hospital, Department of Juvenile Justice facility, jail / prison and/or respite care (temporary State-approved placement).

Why is it important?

According to the Child Welfare League of America, placements in foster care have risen dramatically in the past ten years. Currently, over 500,000 children in the U.S. reside in some form of out-of-home care. African-American children make up approximately two thirds of the foster care population and tend to remain in care longer. Two out of three children who enter foster care are reunited with their birth parents within two years. A significant number, however, can spend long periods of time in care awaiting adoption or another permanent arrangement. Over the past ten years in the United States, there has been a decrease in the number of foster parents (non-relative) available to care for children, resulting in larger numbers of children remaining in institutional settings. The number of relative caregivers ("kinship care"), however, has increased.

Foster care should be thought of as a significant part of the continuum of the child protection system of care in Hillsborough County and the State of Florida. In Hillsborough County there are more than 2,100 children living in out of home care due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment. Children aged 0 - 17 are frequently a part of a sibling group. There is a critical need for quality families who can provide temporary care for these special children. The goal for these children is re-unification; however, many children are unable to return to their birth families. These children will need a foster and/or adoptive placement. Hillsborough County has consistently adopted approximately 300 children yearly, helping them find a forever family.

How are the data collected (methods)?

All child welfare information is entered in the state wide database, Florida Safe Families Network (FSFN). The organization uses Mindshare Predictive Analytics that provides real time access to key variables associated with child maltreatment (information in FSFN). This is accomplished by mining cases for keywords, risk factors, or missing but expected data and then reporting those variables to multiple levels of stakeholders based on predetermined criteria. Examples of criteria include:

  • Missing or very short case notes
  • Ages of parents or children
  • Sibling group sizes
  • Maltreatment when entering care
  • New abuse allegations during care, etc.

This list represents just a few of the potential search items as any information that is entered into any field in FSFN can be mined including free from text. This is a key difference with existing reports as they require a dedicated field with a selected option from a drop down or radio button selection in order to populate as well as the labor/ time intensive process of report creation at the state level. Mindshare reports combine the mined variables based on established combinations into case lists for further review, but they are also configurable at the local level.

Calculations

Not Applicable.

Caveats and Limitations

Not Applicable.

Frequently Asked Questions

AM I READY TO BE A FOSTER PARENT?

Becoming a Licensed Foster Parent could be the most challenging task you have ever considered. This questionnaire will help you to determine if you are eligible and ready to become a foster parent.

  1. DO YOU HAVE ENOUGH ROOM IN YOUR HOME FOR A FOSTER CHILD?
    You must have enough bedroom space for a foster child. A foster child may share a bedroom with your child/another foster child of the same sex. Foster children must have a bed of their own and cannot share a bed nor sleep on a cot or trundle bed. A foster child may not share a bedroom with any adult, with the exception of infants, age 12 months or younger. Also, an adult cannot move out of their bedroom and sleep on the couch to make room for the child.
  2. ARE YOU READY TO HAVE A HEALTH & FIRE INSPECTION OF YOUR HOME?
    It is important that children live in a safe and clean environment. During the Homestudy process, you will be asked to have a Health and Fire Inspection done in your home. Your residence must be free of potential danger and risks. You must have working smoke detectors, a fire extinguisher, and if you have pets, all animals must be current with vaccinations and not present a danger to children in your home.
  3. ARE YOU PHYSICALLY AND EMOTIONALLY CAPABLE OF CARING FOR CHILDREN?
    Being a parent can be demanding. You must be healthy and emotionally stable to care for foster children. You may be asked to complete a physical or provide medical clearance.
  4. DOES ANY ADULT HOUSEHOLD MEMBER HAVE A CRIMINAL OR ABUSE REGISTRY RECORD?
    Thorough background screening is conducted on all prospective foster families, including Abuse Registry, local criminal and federal criminal (fingerprint) clearances. If you or any adult household member has any a criminal or abuse registry record, please contact 643-KIDS or your licensing agency for further information regarding background screening.
  5. DO YOU HAVE ADEQUATE INCOME TO MEET YOUR CURRENT FAMILY NEEDS?
    While you don't have to be rich to be a foster parent, you must have adequate income to meet you own family's needs. Foster parents are reimbursed for the substitute care they provide. The monthly Board Rate is not income. During the homestudy process, you will be asked to show proof of income and financial stability.
  6. HAVE YOUR BEEN IN YOUR CURRENT MARRIAGE FOR AT LEAST ONE YEAR?
    Foster parents can be single, married or divorced. However, if you are married, you must have been in your current marital status for at least 12 months to ensure stability in your relationship.
  7. ARE YOU READY TO BEGIN THE HOMESTUDY PROCESS NOW?
    You are ready to begin if your life and home are stable. "Stable" means that you are not about to move or are not having financial, marital or emotional difficulties. Your home must be in good condition and you must be ready to begin the 10 week pre-service training program. Foster care impacts the entire family, therefore everyone in your home should have given serious thought to the decision to provide foster care.
  8. IF YOU ANSWERED YES TO ALL THESE STATEMENTS, YOU ARE READY TO BEGIN THE PROCESS OF BECOMING A FOSTER PARENT!

    Call Eckerd Community Alternatives at (813) 643-KIDS, or your licensing agency, for more information about becoming a foster parent.

Additional Information