This year, the Heart Gallery of Sarasota is featuring twice as many "waiting" children and more that are within 24 months of aging out than in previous years, due to the effect of COVID-19 shutdowns on the foster care system.

For children who might have found a family, the closing of courts made termination of parental rights impossible, “match” meetings with hopeful adoptive parents were cancelled and training and home studies for potential adoptive parents were stopped. The result was less children featured on the Heart Gallery through 2020, less families becoming licensed, making it impossible for these children to be placed in a stable loving environment.

While isolation and detachment placed these children in more danger of abuse and neglect that would go unnoticed, the length of time they were forced to stay in an unhealthy situation was extended.

Under normal circumstances, children spend on average 2.5 years in foster care before they are adopted, but children languish longer due to closing of government agencies and further delays in legal proceedings. By the end of 2020, the courts and the lead agency had made some adjustments and were able to release children to the Heart Gallery, but the need to recruit more families is more critical now than ever.

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The Libertore Fund For Children
P.O. Box 5415
Lakeland, FL 33807

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