Frequently Asked Questions

Sylvia Thomas Center / Frequently Asked Questions

I am interested in adopting a child in Hillsborough County. Where should I start?

Call Eckerd Connects Community Alternatives at 866-233-0790 to sign up for a free orientation where you can learn more about available children and the adoption process.

Who can adopt a child?

To be eligible to adopt one of Florida’s children, you may be married or single, already a parent or never a parent, in your 60s or in your 20s, an apartment renter or a homeowner, a person of modest means or wealth. The fact is that there is no one description of people who can be prospective adoptive parents. If you have the ability to love a child, to provide the basics for a child and to make a lifelong commitment, you can be an adoptive parent. A few things will prevent you from becoming an adoptive parent, such as certain felony criminal records.

What are the financial requirements (if any) to adopt a child in care?

The acceptable income level varies widely depending on each unique situation. Income will be addressed as part of the home study to ensure that an adoptive parent is currently financially stable and able to provide for the basic needs of a child. Potential adoptive parents will never be disqualified based on income alone.

If I adopt from foster care, what financial assistance will be available?

Additionally, families that adopt a child in foster care will likely qualify for a monthly adoption maintenance subsidy to help offset ongoing costs until the child turns 18 and health care through the Medicaid program until the age of 21. Children adopted from the Florida foster care system are also eligible for tuition exemption from any Florida state college, university or vocational school. The exemption remains valid until the student reaches 28 years of age.

My child was adopted and is now ready to use the tuition exemption. How do I get the required letter of verification?

If adopted from foster care in Hillsborough County, contact needs to be made with Post-Adoption services with Eckerd Connects. They can be reached at 813-225-1105. If adopted from another Florida county, contact needs to be made with the local community-based care lead agency for that county.

I have just been told my child no longer has Medicaid. Who should I call?

If the child is still of age (i.e., under the age of 21) and was adopted in Hillsborough County, contact needs to be made with Post-Adoption services with Eckerd Connects. They can be reached at 813-225-1105.

My family just needs a break. Are there any respite options available in Hillsborough County?

Hillsborough County Children’s Services operates the Children in Need of Services/Families in Need of Services (CINS/FINS) Program at the Lake Magdalene campus in Tampa. Services are voluntary (i.e., child/youth needs to go willingly) and are provided free of charge for Hillsborough County residents. The CINS/FINS Residential Program is a short-term residential respite program that offers a youth ages 10 to 17 an average length of stay of 14 days. Screening is available 24 hours a day. Call (813) 264-3807, Ext. 53159, or (813) 272-6606.