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.

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

WHAT’S CAREGIVER SUPPORT?

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 receive ongoing Guardianship Assistance until the child(ren) reaches adulthood.

THE BENEFITS OF CAREGIVER SUPPORT

THE BENEFITS OF  CAREGIVER SUPPORT
  • Child receives Medicaid to cover medical, dental, and behavioral health services
  • Training on how to better meet the needs of a child who’s experienced trauma
  • Accessibility to our team of staff to discuss available supports and programs you would be eligible to apply for
  • Access to aditional trainings that may help your family connections to community resources
  • Monthly stipend upon completion of onboarding process for Level 1, Child Specific Foster Care Licensing

WHO DO I WORK WITH?

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?

WHAT CAN I EXPECT?

Our Department will be in contact with you to review and discuss all available supports and programs you may be eligible to apply for. If interested in Level 1, Child Specific Foster Parent Licensing we will work closely with you to complete the requirements for licensure. Mainly, you will be provided a few training hours that better prepare 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.  Once your Level 1, Child Specific Foster Care License is approved, you may be eligible for a monthly stipend. A monthly stipend can potentially 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?

WHAT HAPPENS IF A CHILD CAN’T GO HOME?

Should the court approve to change the goal to Permanent Guardianship, approval as a Level 1, Child Specific Foster Parent can potentially make you eligible for the Guardianship Assistance Program (GAP).  If you become a permanent guardian, you will complete a Guardianship Assistance Agreement. This agreement will ensure you continue to receive a monthly stipend for the child, monthly until the child is either 18 or no longer in your legal custody. 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.