This resource page is designed to promote collaboration and communication among all individuals within the Hillsborough County child welfare system of care. This includes ALL caregivers (Adoptive and Foster parents; Relatives and Non-Relatives), Child Welfare Professionals, and other individuals throughout Hillsborough County who are committed children in care.
As part of the larger Hillsborough County System of Care Action Committee, the Accountability for Outcomes Subcommittee has been working on the “Change the Seat? initiative! This Subcommittee includes representatives from DCF, Eckerd, foster parents, and the Office of the Attorney General. Some foster parents indicated that they were not consistently given the opportunity to sit at the table with the parties in the courtroom or to address the court at hearings. Thus, the Subcommittee wanted to work with the judiciary to ensure that foster parents were heard in court. Foster parents can provide essential information to the court regarding child well-being including a child’s adjustment to placement, educational and behavioral issues, and parental visitation. The circuit court judges were very receptive and committed to allow foster parents to sit at the table with the other parties and to provide information to the court. The Subcommittee will be spreading the word of this initiative by asking members of the judiciary, attorneys, and case managers to wear buttons with the “Change the Seat? logo. Foster parents have been encouraged to notify the court bailiffs of their presence at hearings so they can be seated at the parties’ table.
For additional information about the Change the Seat Initiative contact:
Nicole Lefever, Director of Licensing at Eckerd Kids.
Jody Grutza, Executive Director
Eckerd Kids - Hillsborough
9393 North Florida Ave., Ste. #1100
Tampa, Florida 33612