Heartland for Children

1239 E Main St - Bartow, FL 33830

Heartland for Children

Heartland for Children is a community-based care lead agency contracted with the Department of Children and Families. In March 2003, Heartland for Children was selected as the lead agency for Community Based Care in Polk, Highlands and Hardee counties. As the lead agency, Heartland for Children assumed the responsibilities for System Administration of a comprehensive child welfare service provider network that included protective services, foster care, adoptions, independent living, prevention, family preservation, family support services and other related services. Heartland for Children has taken the child welfare system in Circuit 10 to a performance focused and results oriented system.


As the existing lead agency, we have a proven track record in this community. We have an in-depth understanding of the vast array of existing community resources, as well as, the strengths and challenges in each of our communities. Going forward, we will continue to build on our strong relationships and past experiences, continuously learning from our mistakes and successes and relentlessly pursuing excellence.


Foster Care

As of March 2023, there are approximately 1293 children in out-of-home care in our circuit and 460 of these are placed in a foster (levels 2-5) or group home setting. 

  • Of these, 109 are in group care home settings.
  • 75 of our children are placed in foster homes or group care home settings out of this circuit. 
  • Of the 109 children in group care settings, 85 of these are teens. 

These children need a chance to live in a traditional family setting, play sports and learn how to make plans for college or the career of their choice. For this reason, our goal is to license at least 55 more homes in order to meet the needs of teenagers in our community.  We utilize a matching system which tries to match children to a family with similar likes. 

Foster Caregivers are the key to unlocking children’s futures and the healing agents in allowing a child to heal from the trauma they have experienced.  Every child deserves to live in a traditional family setting and in order to make this a reality, we need more foster homes in all of our communities. Please assist us in sharing our current need for additional quality foster homes for teenagers and siblings in this community.


There are 4 different types of foster homes:

1. Traditional - A traditional family setting until the child can be reunified. Requires 21 hours of training.

2. Medical - Foster care for children with significant medical needs. Must be licensed as a traditional home first, then will be required to complete an additional 32 hours of medical training.

3. Specialized Therapeutic - Foster care for children with significant mental health, behavioral, or emotional issues. This requires the 21 hours of traditional training and an additional 30 hours of specialized training. Stay at home parent is preferred. This is a mental health treatment program.

4. Respite - Foster care for children for a short duration (a couple days up to a week or two) if an another foster parent has an emergency. Must complete the 21 hours of training and be licensed as a traditional home.


Are you interested in becoming a foster family or adopting?

If so, reach out to us today.




Foster Families w/ Heartland for Children

Fri Jul 28, 2023

This episode we are talking to Susan Ripley and Briana Edwards from Heartland for Children about fos...


Polk, Highlands and Hardee

1239 E Main St - Bartow, FL 33830

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