POSTED: Feb. 7, 2024

Embrace Families terminated its contract with the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF). What does that mean?

On Nov. 16, 2023, the board of directors of Embrace Families Community Based Care notified Florida DCF that Embrace Families would not seek to renew its contract to serve as the lead child welfare agency providing foster care, diversion, adoption and other support services to children and families in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties. That meant a new agency would need to be selected by DCF to assume the lead agency role for the tri-county area. More information about that decision is available in a news release posted Nov. 22, 2023.

Will Embrace Families continue to serve the tri-county area during the process of selecting and transitioning to a new lead agency?

Yes. There has not been, nor will there be, any disruption of service to the children and families Embrace Families serves. Case managers and staff will continue to provide the exceptional quality of care and service they have always offered to ensure that Central Florida families have the support they need to thrive.

How will a new lead agency be chosen?

Organizations interested in becoming the new lead agency were required to submit bids for the tri-county area’s contract by Jan. 25. Two established child welfare lead agencies serving other parts of the state applied: Brevard Family Partnership and Kids Central Inc. DCF is currently reviewing those bids. An announcement is expected no later than March 11.

When will the new organization assume the lead agency role for the tri-county area?

The selected organization will begin the process of transitioning to the lead agency role by April 1. The target date to complete that process is May 15. At that time, the new organization will assume child welfare responsibilities for our tri-county area.

Will caregivers and adoptive parents continue to receive their subsidies from Embrace Families?

Yes, those subsidies will continue throughout the transition period.  Responsibility for subsidy payments will transfer to the new lead agency in May.

Will current case managers continue to work with their families?

Throughout the transition process, case managers from Camelot Community Care, Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services and One Hope United will continue to work with the families assigned to them. Because the new agency will need qualified staff to serve our tri-county families once that process is complete, it is also expected that Embrace Families staff who work directly with children and families will transition to the new agency, if they choose to do so.

Why should I continue to support Embrace Families?

We will continue to care for Central Florida’s families until DCF awards the contract to a new agency. To do that, we need the ongoing support of business partners, donors and volunteers. Once a new agency takes the lead in the tri-county area, it will also need the generous support of caring people like you to ensure the needs of our children and families continue to be met.

What is happening to Embrace Families Solutions and Embrace Families Foundation?

Embrace Families Solutions officially separated from Embrace Families Inc., the umbrella organization for our family of nonprofit organizations, on Jan. 1. At that time, this prevention-focused agency began operating under a new name, RISE Community Solutions, with no disruption of services within its five program areas: Pathways to Home, Children’s Advocacy Center Osceola, Breakthrough, Public Allies Central Florida and the Mental Health Awareness Training (MHAT) Project. While both Embrace Families Foundation and Embrace Families Inc. will eventually dissolve, those entities currently continue to operate and provide support to both Embrace Families CBC and RISE Community Solutions.

Did DCF terminate Embrace Families’ contract?

No. The board of directors of Embrace Families Community Based Care made the decision to terminate the contract. More information about that decision is available in a news release posted Nov. 22, 2023.

What is Embrace Families?

Community Based Care (CBC) was initiated in 1997. It is a process to privatize the Department of Children and Families (DCF) for the care and services to children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned. A legislative mandate was passed in 1999, and active implementation began in 2001. Now, the entire State of Florida has been transitioned to CBC.

What is the purpose of Embrace Families

Embrace Families is committed to building a local system of care and services to vulnerable children in Central Florida. We care for children who have been victims of abuse and/or neglect. All services from prevention and community outreach, to case management, foster care and adoptions are provided.

Who does Embrace Families serve?

We provide services to children and families in Central Florida who have been victims of, or at risk of, abuse or neglect. On average, Embrace Families serves more than 9,500 children and teens each year.

How do we deliver Embrace Families services to children?

Embrace Families utilizes local community service providers to deliver the direct services to children. Embrace Families serves as the lead agency to this network of service providers.

Who partners with Embrace Families?

Embrace Families service provider partners include, but are not limited to:

How is Embrace Families different than the State or DCF?

A system of care has been designed and implemented. This system of care better coordinates services for abused, neglected and abandoned children. Our service provider network is dramatically more diverse and locally controlled. More Central Florida children in need are better able to be served here in Central Florida. Community relationships and community ownership have expanded — Community Alliance, Children’s Cabinet of Seminole County, County/City Commissioners, Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, business Community, etc. Finally, accountability is an increasing part of the dependency system.

Where is Embrace Families located?

Contact us at:

      • Administrative and Support Center — 901 N. Lake Destiny Rd., Ste. 400, Maitland, FL 32751, Phone: (321) 441-2060
      • Seminole County Visitation and Satellite Office — 2921 S. Orlando Drive, Suite 126, Sanford, FL 32773, Phone: (407) 688-9650
      • East Orange County Service Center — 4001 Pelee Street, Suite 100, Orlando, FL 32817, Phone: (321) 441-2361
      • Osceola County Service Center — 3600 Commerce Blvd., Building B, Suite 101, Kissimmee, FL 34741 Phone: (321) 442-8487
      • West Orange County Service Center — 5749 Westgate Drive, Suite 201, Orlando, FL 32835, Phone: (321) 441-1567

How can I help abused, neglected or abandoned children?

There are a lot of ways to help. Volunteer to be a mentor to a child; volunteer to be an Embrace Families advocate, or donate money. Most important GET INFORMED and get involved.

Where can I obtain public records for your agency?

It is the policy of this state, county, and municipal records shall be open for personal inspection by any person. It is the duty of Embrace Families to ensure reasonable access to “public records” that is maintained. “Public Records” means all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, films, sound recordings, data processing software, or other material, regardless of the physical form, characteristics, or means of transmission, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any agency.

If you are seeking records on yourself, you will be required to verify your identity. This verification is required in order to protect your privacy and to ensure that private information about you is not disclosed inappropriately to someone else. Whenever you request information about yourself you will be asked to sign a consent form in order to release the information.

If you request records relating to another person, if those records are exempt by federal and/or state law, they ordinarily will not be disclosed to you. Release of “Client Records” must comply with state and federal privacy and security regulations and are bound by HIPPA regulations.

To make a “Request for Public Records” click here.

Can I be a foster parent?

Open your heart to open your home and what comes out is a lifelong fulfillment.

Who are these waiting children?

  • There are an estimated 408,425 children in foster care in the United States, and more than 107,000 of them are waiting to be adopted.
  • Through no fault of their own, these children enter foster care as a result of abuse, neglect and/or abandonment.
  • The average child waits for an adoptive family for more than three years.
  • 11 percent spend 5 years or more waiting for a family (43,083 children).
  • The average age of children waiting for an adoptive family is 8.

What happens to them?

  • 52,891 children are adopted from foster care.
  • Nearly 28,000 children reach the age of 18 without ever finding a forever family.

Who adopts from foster care?

  • Children in foster care are adopted by three types of families: former foster parents (53 percent), relatives (32 percent) and non-relatives (15 percent).
  • Of the families who adopt children from foster care, 67 percent are married couples, 28 percent are single females, 3 percent are single males, and 2 percent are unmarried couples.
  • A national survey in 2007 revealed that 48 million Americans have considered adoption from foster care — more so than any other form of adoption, including private adoption of an infant or international adoption. (National Foster Care Adoption Attitudes Survey, November 2007. Commissioned by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and conducted by Harris Interactive.)

In as little as six to nine months, you can become a foster parent and together, begin the all-important journey home.

What a statement, but first, ask yourself:

Am I ready to be a foster parent?
Do I have enough room in my home to temporarily house a child?
Can my home pass a safety inspection?
Am I physically and emotionally capable of caring for children?
Do I have a history or record of abuse or neglect?
Do I have an adequate income to meet my own family’s current needs?
Have I been in my current relationship for more than 12 months?
Has an adult in my home ever been convicted of a crime?
Am I ready to begin the home study process?

Contact A Foster/Adoptive Parent Recruiter!

Contact A Foster/Adoptive Parent Recruiter by calling 1-866-90-Child or by visiting http://embracefamilies.org/next-steps.

Que es la crianza temporal?

Es proveer un ambiente seguro, acogedor, estable y temporal para niños que ya no pueden permanecer en sus propios hogares debido al riesgo del abuso o el abandono. Este cuidado se brinda con la expectativa de ayudar a que los niños puedan unirse nuevamente con sus familias con seguridad.

Quien(es) son/es un hijo de crianza?

Los hijos de crianza vienen de poblaciones de diversidad étnica y cultural y se encuentran entre los 0 a 18 años de edad. Pueden ser y/o son el hijo del vecino. Pueden tener necesidades médicas, de desarrollo, mentales y emocionales especiales debido al trauma que han sufrido. Pueden ser parte de un grupo de hermanos o un hijo único. La mayoría de los hijos de crianza entran en el sistema de cuidado como resultado del abuso, la negligencia o el abandono de sus padres o cuidadores. El abuso y la negligencia no deja a los niños necesariamente afectados de por vida. Los niños son muy resistentes y con un hogar de crianza entrenado y acogedor, ellos y sus familias pueden sobreponerse a sus dificultades y ser reunificados y/o encontrar familias alternativas permanentes.

Por que ser un padre de crianza?

La crianza temporal tiene que ver con creer e invertir en el futuro de las familias, ayudando a los niños mas vulnerables de la comunidad y a sus familias que se encuentran sufriendo circunstancias difí­ciles. Comprender la misión de la crianza temporal, ser capaz de proveer un hogar temporal seguro y estable para un niño y conectar con sus familias biologicas con el fin de que el niño pueda regresar a su hogar con seguridad, es la meta principal y el objetivo de la crianza temporal. Estamos en el negocio de reunir y mantener juntas a las familias y la crianza temporal juega un papel vital.

Quien puede ser un padre de crianza?

Hay padres de crianza a todo nuestro alrededor. Son maestros, entrenadores, comerciantes, retirados. Puede ser usted o su vecino. Los padres de crianza son nuestros socios en el sistema de cuidado y son tratados como miembros del equipo. Dependemos de ellos para ayudarnos a reunir a los niños y sus familias.

Los padres de crianza deben tener al menos 21 años de edad, demostrar su propia estabilidad de vivienda por un período de tiempo, ser económicamente estables y tener un ambiente adecuado para vivir y dormir para el niño de crianza. Puede ser soltero o casado o divorciado, puede ser propietario o inquilino de su apartamento o casa y no necesita tener sus propios hijos. Puede trabajar fuera del hogar, o ser una mamá, papá o cuidador que permanece en la casa. Se  requerirán autorizaciones médicas y exámenes de salud para asegurar la estabilidad fí­sica, mental y emocional. La crianza puede ser una experiencia retadora y las familias de crianza necesitan estar preparadas para lidiar con algunos asuntos muy difí­ciles que puedan afectarlos personalmente.

A cuáles son los requisitos económicos para ser un padre de crianza?

La expectativa es de que los padres de crianza tengan un ingreso elegible estable antes de ser aprobados y licenciados como padres de crianza. Los fondos que entran deben ser mayores que los fondos que salen del hogar.

Las personas que se encuentran recibiendo asistencia gubernamental como TANF o cupones de alimentación, Sección 8 o vivienda HUD no son elegibles para ser padres de crianza. Los fondos por manutención o pensión alimenticia no pueden ser contados como ingreso. La dependencia de estas fuentes de ingreso no se considera estabilidad financiera.

Los padres de crianza reciben una pensión y/o remuneración por los niños colocados en su hogar. Esta tasa diaria se basa en la edad y dificultad del niño y debe ser utilizada para el cuidado del niño. Los cheques para pensiones se pagan con demora al final de cada mes. Esto significa que pueden colocar un niño en su hogar por cerca de 4 a 6 semanas antes de que se reciba un cheque. Los padres de crianza necesitan demostrar estabilidad económica en el caso de que necesiten salir a comprar ropa, materiales escolares, etc. antes de recibir su primer cheque. La pensión no se considera un ingreso y no puede utilizarse para pagar el alquiler, la hipoteca, los servicios públicos u otras cuentas de los padres de crianza. La pensión tiene como propósito ayudar al padre de crianza a pagar por las actividades diarias y necesidades normales del niño de crianza, i.e. gastos para excursiones escolares, posibles gastos de cuidado infantil, ropa, zapatos, productos para el cabello, aparatos electrónicos. De ninguna manera cubre todos los gastos del niño pero es una forma de ayudar en el cuidado del mismo.

A que tan grande necesita ser mi casa?

CBCCFL requiere que cada niño de crianza tenga al menos 40 pies cuadrados de espacio en su habitación. Esto equivale aproximadamente a 1/3 de una habitación 10 x 12. Los hijos de crianza pueden compartir habitaciones con otros niños de crianza y con los hijos biológicos. Sin embargo, pueden haber ocasiones en que se requiera que un niño de crianza tenga su propia habitación debido al trauma que puedan haber sufrido. Los niños de crianza deben tener su propia cama, no pueden compartir habitaciones con niños del sexo opuesto ni dormir en catres o camas nido. Los niños de crianza no pueden compartir habitaciones con adultos y todos los miembros de la familia de crianza deben tener sus propias camas para dormir. Por ejemplo, un miembro adulto no puede dormir en el sofá de la sala para habilitar un espacio para el niño. Es importante que nuestros hogares de crianza están limpios y seguros y aunque idealmente son colocaciones temporales, queremos que nuestros niños de crianza se sientan acogidos y parte de la familia y no simplement un huésped en el hogar.

Inspeccionarán mi casa?

Su hogar deberá estar libre de peligros y riesgos potenciales. Esto se determinará por medio de lo que llamamos el proceso de estudio del hogar. Un especialista en licencias visitará su hogar en múltiples ocasiones no solo para conocerlo a usted y a su familia y comenzar a desarrollar una relación de trabajo, sino para asegurar que el ambiente del hogar cumpla con los requisitos de licencias del Departamento de Niños y Familias según lo indica el Código y Estatuto Administrativo de Florida. Como parte del proceso de estudio del hogar, se necesita completar una inspección de salud antes de conceder la licencia. Usted debería tener detectores de humo y extinguidores de incendio y, si tiene mascotas, estos deberían estar al día con sus vacunas y no presentar un peligro para los niños colocados en su hogar. Estas son solo algunas de las cosas que será observadas e inspeccionadas durante el proceso de estudio del hogar.

Necesitaré una investigación de antecedentes?

­, se hará una investigación de antecedentes a todos los prospectos de padres de crianza. Esto incluirá huellas digitales por FDLE, FBI y NCIC. Se harán investigaciones criminales en todas las jurisdicciones cercanas o de residencia anterior, se hará una investigación de antecedentes a nivel estatal si la familia ha vivido en otro estado en los pasados cinco a niños, una verificación del Registro de Abusos de Florida, verificación de la licencia de conducir y verificaciones civiles. También se completaran referencias personales y de empleo.

Qué tipo de entrenamiento necesito para ser un padre de crianza?

CBC de Florida Central requiere que todos los padres de crianza inicialmente se entrenen en el programa Padres de Crianza PRIDE. PRIDE es un currículo de 11 semanas que incluye un clase de orientación obligatoria. Las clases se realizan una vez por semana por aproximadamente 3 horas para cada clase. Se celebran en varios lugares de la comunidad en horas de la noche y en los fines de semana para acomodar los horarios de trabajo. Se requiere que los cónyuges y las parejas que viven juntas asistan juntas. Las tardanzas y las ausencias que ocurran más de tres veces o no sean aprobadas serán una razón para rechazar a una familia.

Qué pasaría si yo fuera padre de crianza en otro estado?

El haber sido padre de crianza en otro estado no significa que una familia automáticamente será aprobada para ser una familia de crianza en Florida. Las licencias de cuidado de crianza tampoco se transfieren de un estado a otro debido a las diferencias en las regulaciones de licencias. De manera que esto significa que buena parte del proceso de licencias comenzará desde cero una vez que una familia se mude a Florida, indistintamente al tiempo en que hayan estado licenciados en otro estado. Se completardel proceso de licencias comenzarán verificaciones de antecedentes y referencias en un estado anterior y con la agencia estatal anterior. Y dependiendo de cudel proceso de licencias comenzaráto cuanto tiempo hace y el tipo de entrenamiento para padres de crianza que hayan completado, se podría requerir que la familia complete el entrenamiento de 11 semanas de PRIDE. Se requieren horas de entrenamiento anuales adicionales después de recibir la licenci.

Qué si hablo otro idioma?

Al menos una persona en el hogar debe saber leer, hablar y escribir inglés con fluidez. Exhortamos a las familias que son bilinguales a que consideren la crianza temporal muy seriamente porque muchos de los niños y familias que atendemos hablan varios otros idiomas. Esto permite una transición más compasiva dentro y fuera del hogar de crianza para el niño y también ayuda a involucrar a los miembros de la familia biológica en el éxito de la meta de permanencia de su niño. Con excepción del inglés, los idiomas más frecuentes hablados por la mayorí­a de las familias que atendemos son el español y el criollo haitiano.

Who can adopt?

Most adults, married or single of all backgrounds, who can provide a stable, loving home for a child.

Who can be adopted?

Foster children whose birth parents parental rights have been terminated by the courts may be adopted.

What does it cost to adopt?

Florida does not charge to place foster children in adoptive homes. The legal finalization (court & attorney fees) of the adoption could cost less then $1,000 (and may be reimbursed by the state).

How long does it take to be ready to adopt?

The answer varies. The process can usually be completed in 6-8 months.

What historical information about the child is provided?

The foster care history; birth information; medical history; assessments or psychological evaluations; current daily habits & preferences; non-identifying social & medical information about biological parents & birth family.

What kind of post-adoption support is available?

For children with special needs, financial assistance to help meet their expenses may be available.

What traits make a successful adoption family?

Sense of humor; true acceptance of the child’s differences; ability to measure success in small steps; firm belief in commitment.

Who do I call for more information?

Contact A Foster/Adoptive Parent Recruiter by calling 1-866-90-Child or by visiting http://embracefamilies.org/next-steps.

Where is my check?

Please note that if you have direct deposit set up, your funds will be available to your account on the scheduled release dates listed below. If you are expecting a live check, it will be mailed on the scheduled release date

  • Adoption subsidies: Checks are released the 3rd Wednesday of every month.
  • Foster care subsidies: Checks are released the last Wednesday of every month.
  • Youth Transitional Services: Checks are released the last day of each month.
  • Residential Group Homes: Checks are released within 3-7 business days following the end of each month.
  • Trade partners: Invoices are paid net 30 days from receipt unless otherwise arranged in advance.

Can I have details of what the check I received is paying for?

Yes, please email our Accounting Department and ask for a remittance advice or customer statement letter at: accounting@embracefamilies.org or you may call our main line at 321-441-2060 and ask for the Accounting Department. You may also fax your request to: 407-681-0570.

When are Adoption subsidy checks released?

Adoption subsidies: Checks are released the 3rd Wednesday of every month.

When are Youth Transitional Services checks released?

Youth Transitional Services: Checks are released the last day of each month.

When are Foster subsidy payments released?

Foster care subsidies: Checks are released the last Wednesday of every month.

When are the Residential Group Home checks released?

Residential Group Homes: Checks are released within 3-7 business days following the end of each month.

Who can I talk to in order to find out why my invoice is not paid?

Please call our main line at 321-441-2060 and ask for the Accounting Department. We will then direct your call to the appropriate specialist.

I’ve left several messages about my check and no one is returning my call. I want answers now, who can I talk to?

If you would like to speak with someone in person you may call the Accounting Department at 321-441-2075 to file a complaint for lack of response. Additionally, you can offer feedback online by clicking  “Give Feedback” at the top of our home page.

I am so happy about the service I received. I would like to send a note of appreciation, who can I send this to?

We always welcome heartfelt appreciation. Please click “Give Feedback” at the top of our home page. You will have an opportunity to tell us about your experience and provide feedback suited to your preference. You have the option to provide this information anonymously if you desire.

There’s a mistake or a deduction I don’t recognize on my check where can I get an explanation?

Please call our main line at 321-441-2060 and ask for the Accounting Department. Your call will then be directed appropriate specialist or provide you with a customer statement letter detailing the invoices and deductions included. She can also direct your inquiry to the appropriate Specialist who can better explain any deductions for missing information.

How do I change my address?

Please complete an online change of address form. You will receive a confirmation email stating that your changes will be processed within 5 days of receipt and you will be notified when they are completed.

How do I set up, stop, or change my direct deposit?

Please download and complete our direct deposit form to set up, stop, or change your direct deposit. you may return this document by emailing our Accounting Department at or sending it via fax to 407-681-0570.

How can I give or change my email address?

Please complete an online change of email form. You will receive a confirmation email stating that your changes will be processed within 5 business days of receipt and you will be notified when they are completed.

How do I change the name of the Payee on the checks I receive?

If the payee information is incorrect on your check, please visit our change of payee form. Please note that in some instances there may be certain eligibility criteria that must be met in order to make changes to your existing account. For example, if you recently were divorced and were awarded the stipend or subsidy payments as part of your settlement, you will need to provide a copy of the divorce decree. Please also check with your case manager for further details that might pertain to your situation. Note that you will receive an automated response that your request is being processed and when the process is complete.

Our company operates under a new name and Tax ID what do we do?

Please contact our main line at 321-441-2060 and ask for the Accounting Department to request a W9 form. Complete the W9 Form and send it back to us via email at: accounting@embracefamilies.org, send via US Mail to: 4001 Peele Street; Orlando, FL 32817, or fax to 407-681-0570.

My spouse died and checks are still coming in his/her name how do I change the Payee name?

Please visit our change of payee form.

I want to take my spouse’s name off of the payee information as we are divorced. How can I do this?

Please visit our change of payee form. You may also upload a copy of your divorce agreement.

What paperwork is necessary for a name or payee change?

Name changes require court ordered proof. For example, a divorce requires a copy of the divorce decree. A death requires a copy of the death certificate. You can upload these documents from your personal computer when you are completing the change of payee request form on our website.

Who do I speak to about getting my driver’s permit, driver’s license, and or automobile insurance reimbursed?

This is handled through our Youth Transitional Services department and Keys to Independence program. Please visit the Keys to Independence website at http://www.keystoindependencefl.org/ and click on the links for step by step guidance.

Who do I speak to for confirmation of when my Foster payment will take effect?

The assigned Case Manager for your area.

Who do I speak with to confirm when my Adoption subsidy will take affect?

The assigned Adoption Manager for your area.

Who do I speak to about my cell phone reimbursement?

Your supervisor has to approve your monthly reimbursements. Once approved, the expense reports are forwarded to Accounts Payable for processing. If you would like to follow up on the status of your reimbursement, please contact our main line at 321-441-2060 and ask for the Accounting Department, or email at accounting@embracefamilies.org. They will direct you to the Specialist handling your request.

Who do I speak to about my travel and mileage reimbursements?

Your supervisor has to approve your monthly reimbursements. Once approved, the expense reports are forwarded to Accounts Payable for processing. If you would like to follow up on the status of your reimbursement, please contact our main line at 321-441-2060 and ask for the Accounting Department or email at accounting@embracefamilies.org. They will direct you to the Specialist handling your request.

Is my monthly donation tax-deductible?

Monthly gifts are tax deductible to the full extent the law provides, as are all donations to Embrace Families. You will receive a tax receipt by mail, or you may request it.

When will I receive a tax receipt?

Year-end tax receipt letters are mailed in mid-January of each year.

On which day will my donation be charged each month?

You will be billed each month on the same day as your initial pledge.