TRIGGER WARNING: Child Abuse and Neglect

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FOSTER CARE AND ADOPTION SERVICES

All children deserve the love and care of responsible adults in a safe and caring environment. LSF offers a variety of child welfare services in Lee, Manatee, Pinellas and Pasco counties to ensure the safety and security of children as well as the strengthening and preserving families whenever possible.  LSF offers Foster Services, family separation prevention services and in-home protective supervision, and adoption services.

What is the difference between foster parenting and adoption?  

Foster care is a temporary placement of a child in a home while reunification or alternative permanent solution is found for the child. Adoption is a lifetime commitment to care for the child. 

FOSTER CARE

Foster care is a temporary placement of a child in a home while the process of reunification or alternative permanent solution is found for the child.

ADOPTION

Adoption is a life-time commitment to care for the child.

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Need More information?

FOSTER SERVICES

Interested in becoming a Foster Parent? 

Finding new foster homes and recruiting new parents willing to care for a child in need is in short supply. We need you! Becoming a foster parent can be one of the most rewarding experiences for a family. It is a mutual selection process by which the family and the LSF Licensing Unit work together to assess each family’s strengths and needs to determine if the foster care program is a suitable match for both the family and the agency. We work to recruit; we offer case management and licensure for new foster parents. Varies by location. Read on to learn more!

How can I be sure this can work for us? 

The process of fostering requires training, applications, licensure, and guidance. You will have the opportunity to take a deep look at your family and yourself to determine if this is the right path for you and your family. Getting information is just the beginning, and you never have to feel pressure to continue if at any point you decide it simply does work for you and your family. Case managers and experts in this process will guide you through every step. At the end of the process, foster parents will be ready to take on the responsibility and rewards of caring for a child who needs it.

How does in the process work?   

The child welfare case management program in Lee county will take a look at you and your family as a “case,” and the case manager will oversee the entire process and help you get licensed.

Here is the basic description of the process:   

  • Speak to us: Fill out the form above and someone on our staff will contact you and answer all your questions.  
  • Training: We regularly conduct scheduled orientations. They are centered on something called: Parent Resources Information Development Education (PRIDE). This training helps LSF identify potential foster parents. It is a 30-hour Pre-Service Parenting Program that takes place once a week in 3-hour sessions. Full schedule listed below  
  • Licensing and Home Studies: We conduct home studies, background checks, home visits, and inspections to license interested families as eligible foster homes properly.   
  • Relicensing: Once you become a foster parent, you need to get relicensed. We offer the licensing process again at least 60 days prior to the expiration of a foster home’s license.   
  • Retention: We provide support activities and resources to current families to ensure they are satisfied and happy with their fostering experience.   

What are the qualifications for becoming a foster parent? 

You must complete the PRIDE training mentioned above. You and the members of your household must also comply with the following qualifications:  

  • All household members must pass an extensive criminal background screening  
  • The home must pass an environmental health inspection  
  • The home must be safe and have adequate space for additional children to reside.  
  • The family must be financially stable and capable of providing for additional children.  
  • The family must have reliable and safe transportation.  
  • For families with children living in the home, references provided must include a personal, professional, neighbor, family, and school  
  • A licensing counselor will complete a home study, an in-depth assessment of the family  
  • The process from the time of the inquiry until a family receives a license is different depending on the circumstances but averages 3-5 months.  

 

Where are these services offered? 

Lee, Manatee and Pinellas counties. Search the closest location to you using our LSF Locator. 

Still have questions about how to become a foster parent?  

Visit our FAQ page where you can learn more about becoming a foster parent.  

You can also fill out the information above and an LSF representative will be in touch with you with more information, an informational packet and schedule of classes in your area.  

PREVENTION SERVICES AND IN-HOME PROTECTIVE SUPERVISION  

We are committed to protecting abused or neglected children and preserving the family unit whenever possible. LSF case managers provide: 

  • Protective supervision and work to strengthen families  
  • A plan that addresses the issues causing the abuse or neglect.  
  • A case manager who monitors families’ progress, coordinates the wrap-around services they need, and regularly visits the children who have been abused or neglected to assess their ongoing safety and well-being.  

 

OUT OF HOME PLACEMENT & SUPERVISION  

We seek to reunite families whenever possible. LSF case managers work with families to  address abuse and neglect in a similar way to the process for in-home services (above). LSF case managers work with appropriate authorities and partner agencies to determine whether a child should be reunified with their family or the parental rights should be terminated and the child placed up for adoption.   

The LSF Child Welfare Case Management program is funded by the Florida Department of Children and Families through the Children’s Network of Southwest Florida in Lee County and through Eckerd Community Alternatives in Pinellas County. 

ADOPTION SERVICES

(Pinellas and Pasco Counties ONLY)

 

Sadly, in some situations it becomes impossible to safely return children to their family home. This is called: Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) and it is established by a court of law. LSF works to find a permanent home for the child through the adoption process.  

How does the adoption process work? 

  • Recruitment of adoptive homes: We seek a home that fits the child in need of a permanent solution.  
  • Adoption Home Studies: LSF conducts a home study to ensure it is the right fit for both the child and the family seeking to adopt. The study process includes home visits, background checks, interviews, and inspections.  
  • PRIDE Training: we coordinate and co-facilitate a training called Parent Resources Information Development Education (PRIDE) to help us identify potential adoptive families.  
  • Child Studies: We compile the documentation to prepare child studies and legal reporting.  

PRIDE CLASSES

All open houses are from 6pm-7:30pm. PRIDE classes start a week after open house. All classes are from 6pm-9pm.  Currently all training classes are being conducted virtually. Fill out the contact form above to request to sign up for a PRIDE class.

  • March 30th -April 6th
  • April-28th– May 5th
  • May 25th-june 1st
  • June 29th– July 6th
  • July 26th-August 2nd

Contact us

Pinellas and Pasco Counties
727-461-2990

Lee County
239-461-7640

Manatee County
941-721-7670

Pinellas County
727-461-2990

LUTHERAN SERVICES FLORIDA CENTRAL SERVICES | 3627 W. WATERS AVE | TAMPA, FL 33614 | PHONE: (813) 875-1408 | FAX: (813) 875-1302


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