Bay Area Legal Services has various resources available for children in foster care and their caregivers.
Referrals to the Children's Law Center
The Children's Law Center accepts Hillsborough County dependency court referrals from child welfare stakeholders (dependency attorney, case management, guardian ad litem, relative, non-relative, foster parent, etc.) The referral source may contact us at (813) 227-9050 and speak with administrative assistants Karla Bermello or Adrienne Godwin to complete the internal referral form by phone.
If the case meets our eligibility criteria (Hillsborough County dependency case and child is 0-5, has a special need, or is a teenager in group home care) and there's no conflict, the managing attorney will review the case with the team to determine if we have the resources to accept the case for representation. The referral source will be notified of the decision within 10 days from the date of the referral.
Learn how you can be a part of the decisions in your life:
- Your safety
- Your rights
- The new people in your life
Quality child care is critical for children in the child welfare system. Learn about:
- Benefits of quality child care
- Laws supporting quality child care
- Information for foster parents
- Finding quality child care
- Supporting the early learning of the children in your care
Learn about the five Early Education provider-types available:
- School Readiness Provider
- Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK)
- Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) Head Start/Early Head Start
- Hillsborough County Public School (HCPS) Head Start
- Eckerd Early Head Start
Commons questions and explanations for:
- Head Start and Early Head Start
- Social/emotional development
Learn how to get child care help in different circumstances such as:
- Needing child care for the first time
- Wanting a specific kind of child care provider, location, or hours
- Ensuring the quality of the child care setting
- Understanding your child's development or speech/language skills
What happens to their eligibility if:
- The child is reunified with their biological parent, but the case is still open with Eckerd and the court?
- The child has been successfully reunified with their biological parent for six months, and the case closes with Eckerd and with the court?
- The child is adopted and the case closes with Eckerd and the court?
- The child is placed in a permanent guardianship with a relative or non-relative and the case closes with Eckerd, but the court retains jurisdiction?
- For each program, are there eligibility charts that would help predict whether ongoing eligibility will be found?
Apply for Services
If you live or have a case in Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas or Sarasota counties, we may be able to help.