Children in Foster Care Head Home for the Holidays

For Immediate Release: December 22, 2016

Children in Foster Care Head Home for the Holidays
More than 2,300 children reunify or visit families; more than 900 find forever homes

TALLAHASSEE—The Department of Children and Families (DCF), its community partners, and dependency judges statewide teamed up this year to ensure more than 2,300 children in foster care could spend the holidays, including Thanksgiving, with their families and loved ones. In addition, more than 900 children found their forever families in November and December.

“The heart of our mission is to help families heal and reunify, or, when that is not possible, to find forever homes for children in the welfare system,” DCF Secretary Mike Carroll said. “Being with family is an integral part of the holidays, so we are dedicated to making that happen for as many of the children we serve as possible.”

In November, nearly 1,800 children were reunified with family, were adopted, or visited with siblings, parents and extended family. In December, more than 1,400 children were able to return home, visit family and loved ones, or join new families through adoption.

The Home for the Holidays initiative works to expedite placements by finalizing adoptions with new parents and requesting amended visitation so, when it is safe, can return home or make visits to help support the family’s healing. The initiative requires collaboration from community-based care lead agencies, attorneys, judges, guardians, foster families, and case managers. In many circumstances, the effort requires expedited background screenings, court orders, and travel arrangements. The state’s 18 community-based care agencies frequently pick up the cost of the children’s travel if the family is unable to do so.

For more information on how individuals can learn about fostering or adopting, visit

Media Contact: Jessica Sims, DCF Communications Director, at 850.413.0771.