Press Release

State of Florida
Department of Children and Families
Rick Scott

David E. Wilkins

December 19, 2011
MEDIA CONTACT: Erin Gillespie
Press Secretary
(850) 717-4450
DCF Communications

~ More than 1,900 kids will visit relatives or be moved into their permanent placement in time for Christmas ~

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. – Every child should feel at home for the holidays. This year, the Florida Department of Children and Families is working with our community partners to help children in foster care go “Home for the Holidays” and be with family or loved ones during this season.

"Children who are in foster care have the same desire to be with their family and other loved ones during the holidays," said Secretary David Wilkins. "Our agency and our community partners work very hard to ensure that these children will be able to spend time with someone who knows and loves them during this special time of year."

Along with family visits during the holiday season, the program has also served to expedite the permanent placement with relatives or reunification of children both in-state and out-of-state. Our Department works diligently with parents to expedite reunifications already scheduled to occur, to finalize adoptions with new moms and dads, even request amended days or times on visitation orders so that children may spend time their family on that special day.

Of the 1,901 children in the program this year, 1,117 of them will be visiting with relatives or family friends in Florida or in another state. The other 784 children are being moved into a permanent placement through adoption, permanent guardianship or reunification with parents.

The initiative requires collaboration from contracted agencies, legal teams, judges, guardians, foster families and dedicated case managers. In many circumstances, the effort requires expedited background screenings, court orders and travel arrangements. Florida’s 20 community-based care agencies frequently pick up the cost of the children’s travel if the family is unable to do so.