About Florida's Children

On any given day there are approximately 750 children available for adoption from foster care without an identified family.  Florida's children come into foster care through no fault of their own. Some enter care because they were abused, neglected or abandoned or because their parents were unable to care for them due to the parent's drug abuse, imprisonment or other impairment. In some cases, children enter care because they have medical needs or disabilities their birth parents cannot cope with. They come from varied backgrounds, circumstances, races and ethnicities. While some have specific medical, physical or emotional issues that require special care, many do not. Their life histories are shared with prospective adoptive parents. When Florida's children in foster care are available for adoption, the legal rights of their biological parents have been terminated, and the children will never be returned to their birth parents.


About the term "special needs"

"Special needs" is a federal legal definition that applies to most children in care. It means the child qualifies for an adoption subsidy. It does not mean the child necessarily has any disability. In Florida, any of the following criteria qualifies a child for special needs assistance:


  • Age 8 or older
  • Member of a sibling group being placed for adoption together
  • African American or racially mixed
  • Significant emotional ties with foster parents or a relative caregiver
  • Mental, physical or emotional handicap

Teens

Teenagers in care need parents too. Think back to your own teenage years and remember how badly you needed love and guidance as you navigated the transition into adulthood. As an adoptive parent to a teen you will become a mentor, a cheerleader, a teacher and a friend. By providing the strong foundation of a permanent family, you give a teenager the security and confidence to make the good decisions that lead to a successful future.


Adopting a teenager is a great choice for older parents who are concerned about their ability to keep up with young children. And remember, when you adopt a teenager from community-based care, tuition to one of Florida's state universities, colleges or vocational schools is free.


Siblings

In the past, brothers and sisters separated from their birth parents because of abuse or neglect were often adopted into different homes. This was partially because younger siblings found homes more readily, leaving older siblings in temporary care. Today, adoption recruiters work hard to keep siblings together, finding these children do better if they have a chance to grow up together with their brothers and sisters.


Children with disabilities or medical conditions

Some of the children who wait the longest to find forever families are children with disabilities or medical conditions. Matching Florida's children in care to Floridians who will open their hearts and homes to them is the aim of the Explore Adoption initiative. Throughout Florida, hundreds of children with disabilities or medical conditions are looking for families who will embrace them and experience the unique rewards of adopting a child with special needs.


African Americans

On any given day, approximately 750 Florida children in foster care are looking for a permanent home and a forever family. More than 40 percent of these children are African American. Matching the children in Florida's care with Floridians who will open their hearts and homes to them is the goal of Florida's Explore Adoption initiative. Whether you are already a parent or grandparent or someone who wants to start a family, public adoption offers a way to create or grow a family.

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