Foster Parent Resources
Caregiver Support Program
The Communities Connected for Kids Caregiver Support Program helps ensure the success of all out of home caregivers. The Caregiver Support Program mission includes helping caregivers identify resources in the community, access services within the system of care, facilitate caregiver meetings, identify resources, and help caregivers troubleshoot issues and resolve problems. To be connected with our Caregiver Support Program, please call 772-873-7800.
Case managers are an essential resource for our caregivers, who often need help navigating our community of care or finding additional resources for their children. They can be reached at any time, day or night, using the following numbers:
Indian River County
After Hours/Weekend Emergency On Call: 772-321-3044
After Hours/Weekend Emergency On Call: 772-631-3868
After Hours/Weekend Emergency On Call: 863-697-1966
St. Lucie County
After Hours/Weekend Emergency On Call: 772-418-0006
Through partnership with Community Based Care Integrated Health, our clinical department ensures that all children entering care receive physical, mental and behavioral health -care coordination. If you have a child in your care and feel like he/she could benefit from additional services coordination (i.e., additional counseling/therapeutic services, psychotropic medication, certified behavioral analyst, etc.), then please reach out to your Dependency Case Manager, Licensing Specialist, or the Caregiver Support Program and request a Multi-Disciplinary Team Meeting (MDT).
Early Learning Coalition
Daycare assistance for relative/non-relative caregivers and licensed foster parents. Please contact your Dependency Case Manager and request a referral to be completed on your behalf.
Florida’s Center for Child Welfare
Information and Training Resources for Child Welfare Professionals
Florida FAPA (Foster and Adoptive Parent Association)
To support, educate, and advocate on behalf of foster and adoptive families.
Foster Allegation Support Team (F.A.S.T.)
The Foster Allegation Support Team supports foster, adoptive or kinship parents when allegations have been, or might be brought against them. It is important to keep them informed of the procedures and the process through which an allegation will take them. F.A.S.T. provides support without judgment and in an environment which is as nondestructive as possible for the foster parents and their families. Call 1-800-327-8119 or email email@example.com.
Foster and Adoptive Parent Associations (FAPA)
Foster and Adoptive Parent Associations exist throughout our four counties and provide valuable networking opportunities for caregivers. The associations host monthly meetings, where caregivers can meet other foster parents, share experiences and learn from engaging speakers. Currently, our local FAPA meetings are being hosted virtually. For more information, please contact Jerra Wisecup at 772-873-7800.
Foster and Adoptive Parent Mentor Program
The Foster and Adoptive Parent Mentor Program helps support foster and adoptive parents by offering experience and guidance from a veteran foster and adoptive parent. One of our seasoned foster and adoptive parents co-teaches foster-parent classes and acts as a mentor for foster and adoptive parents in their time of need. The mentor also works closely with the respective licensing agencies, and the Caregiver Support Program Team to ensure that foster parents receive the help and resources they need to do their jobs and to feel connected to the system of care and respected by all who work in it. To be connected with the Foster Parent Mentor, please contact our Caregiver Support Program Team at 772-873-7800.
Designed to assist caregivers with obtaining the things they might not immediately have on hand for the children in their care, including but not limited to clothing, bedding, baby items, and children’s furniture. There are two locations accepting gently used
items to serve children and caregivers on the Treasure Coast and Okeechobee:
Indian River County: James 1:27 Project is a foster closet at Lakeside Fellowship Church in Vero Beach. For more information or to set up an appointment to pick up or drop off items, please email Christy at firstname.lastname@example.org
Martin County: Treasure Coast Foster Closet a foster closet in Stuart. For more information or to set up an appointment to pick up or drop off items, please join the Treasure Coast Foster Closet Facebook page or email them at email@example.com.
Keys to Independence
Keys to Independence is an innovative program designed to provide youth in foster care this normal experience by giving them access to drivers education and a driver’s license. The first state to embrace this concept is Florida. It is targeted at youth in licensed foster care between the ages of 15 to 21. This program will reimburse youth and caregivers for the costs associated with driver’s education, driver’s licenses and other costs related to getting a driver’s license as well as motor vehicle insurance. For more information and to find out if you qualify, please visit https://keystoindependencefl.com/
Mobile Crisis Services
If the child in your care is experiencing a mental health crisis, the Mobile Crisis Unit may be an appropriate resource. The Mobile Crisis Unit is a team of mental health professionals, including a masters-level clinician, who will respond to the home, school, or other location in the community to assist when an individual is experiencing a mental health crisis. The team can work with the child and family to help stabilize the situation and assess whether additional treatment may be necessary. If appropriate, the team can also assess whether hospitalization under the Baker Act is necessary. This is a community-funded resource and there is no fee. Call
772-468-3909 for help any time, day or night.
Quality Parenting Initiative
QPI, the Quality Parenting Initiative, is a national movement for foster care change, made up of a network of states, counties and private agencies committed to ensuring that all children in care have excellent parenting and lasting relationships so they can thrive and grow.
QPI is built on the belief that excellent parenting with strong, positive relationships is the best intervention we can offer children to enable them to heal as they grow up to become adults. Creating a system that ensures excellent parenting requires the support and involvement of birth families, relative caregivers, foster families, young people, and others in the child welfare system.
Communities Connected for Kids facilitates a local steering committee made up of community partners and a Quality Parenting Initiative Consultant from the Youth Law Center. All stakeholders work together to reshape our culture, practices, and policies; encourage active and meaningful communication; build relationships among birth families, relative caregivers, foster families, youth, and our child welfare agency; and ensure that children have access to the childhood and teenage experiences that will help them heal, grow, and flourish.
The Quality Parenting Initiative also provides free education resources for all caregivers and child welfare professionals. http://www.qpiflorida.org/
Please contact Jerra Wisecup or Tricia Curl at 772-873-7800 if you are interested in learning more about our local efforts.
Step Up for Students
Step Up For Students is a state-approved nonprofit scholarship funding organization that helps administer five scholarships for Florida schoolchildren: the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program (FTC) and the Family Empowerment Scholarship (FES) for lower-income families,
the Gardiner Scholarship for children with certain special needs, the Hope Scholarship for public school students who are bullied or victims of violence and the Reading Scholarship Accounts for public school students in third through fifth grade who struggle with reading.
Sunshine Health Child Welfare Specialty Plan Benefits
Care Grant: A care grant can be requested per calendar year in any amount up to a total of
$150 to cover expenses not covered by Medicaid, such as athletic uniforms, athletic equipment, school trips and college application fees or visit expenses etc. A request does not have to total $150 but the max amount that can be given per calendar year is $150. Please note the requests can take 4-6 weeks to process. Please contact your Dependency Case Manager for a request to be completed on your behalf.
Rewards Program: You can earn My Health Pays™ rewards from Sunshine Health when you
complete healthy activities! Please click here for more information.
Over the Counter Health and Wellness Benefit
Your Sunshine Health benefits include a monthly allowance. Use this allowance to purchase over-the-counter (OTC) items that your child probably uses every day. These include first aid supplies, cold/cough medications, eye drops, toothpaste, pain relievers, vitamins and personal care items. Please click here for more information.
Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
WIC is a federally funded nutrition program for Women, Infants, and Children. WIC provides the following at no cost: healthy foods, nutrition education and counseling, breastfeeding support, and referrals for health care and community services.
Foster parents who care for children between the ages of birth to five years old can contact their local WIC office directly to schedule an appointment. Please identify yourself as a caregiver/foster parent through the Department of Children and Families and/or Communities Connected for Kids. Please be prepared to present your custody letter at the time of the appointment. The income eligibility criteria will not apply to you.
To apply for WIC, contact a local WIC office. Find the local phone number in the list or call 1-800-342-3556 and ask for the phone number of your local WIC office.