When children in foster care are available for adoption, this means the legal rights of their biological parents have been terminated and new adoptive families must be found. It is important to remember that these 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 weren’t able to provide adequate care or cope with their medical needs or disabilities. 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.
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“Special Needs” Children
“Special needs” is a federal legal definition that applies to most children in foster care. It means the child qualifies for an adoption subsidy, but it does not necessarily mean the child has a 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
Teenagers in care need parents too. As an adoptive parent to a teen, you’ll provide them with a strong family foundation and give them the security and confidence to make solid life decisions that lead to a successful future. And remember, when you adopt a teenager from foster care, tuition is free to any Florida state university, college or vocational school.
In the past, brothers and sisters separated from their birth parents due to abuse or neglect were often adopted into different homes. Eckerd Kids strongly believes in keeping siblings together and is committed to finding homes, whenever possible, for large sibling groups.
Children with Disabilities or Medical Conditions
Some of the children who wait the longest to find forever families are children with special disabilities or medical conditions. Eckerd Kids is looking for families who will embrace these children and experience the unique rewards of adopting a child with special needs. Some of our best prospects are those who have successfully parented children with similar disabilities, as well as those who work in the medical field.