TALLAHASSEE — Thousands of children in foster care will be going “Home for the Holidays” this month. Half of the kids will be visiting relatives or loved ones, while the other half will be moved into a permanent placement with their forever family just in time for Christmas. 

The Department of Children and Families and our community partners work diligently to make sure our children spend time with loved ones over the holidays.

“Children who are in foster care deserve to be with their family and other loved ones during the holiday season,” said Secretary David Wilkins. “Working together, we can provide memories that will last a lifetime for our kids who may not get opportunities to see their siblings, grandparents or others very often.”

About 1,200 children will be visiting relatives in Florida and out of state this month. Another 1,200 kids will be placed in their permanent home. The “Home for the Holidays” program works to expedite placements by completing reunifications already scheduled to occur, finalizing adoptions with new moms and dads, and requesting amended visitation so children may spend time their family on that special day.

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. The state’s 18 community-based care agencies frequently pick up the cost of the children’s travel if the family is unable to do so.