Tampa foster care org expands into neighboring counties amid rising demand

foster care florida
A Door of Hope is expanding its service by more than 33% to ensure kids have access to a safe, comfortable foster home.

A Tampa-based foster care organization is expanding its services into Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion and Sumter counties amid rising demand.

A Door of Hope is expanding to provide care for 806 children in Circuit 5, a more than 33% increase to its previous service capacity.

The move comes as more than 10,000 children across the state navigate the uncertainties of foster care.

Since 2020, counties in Circuit 5, which include the counties A Door of Hope is adding to its service area, have seen an average of 800 children per year removed from homes as a result of abuse, abandonment or neglect. Without adequate foster services, these children are often forced to shuffle between temporary homes, placed in group homes or, in some unfortunate situations, placed in office buildings.

The expansion will mean better, more consistent care for children who are already suffering loss and trauma.

The Florida Department of Children and Families, which oversees Circuit 5, has endorsed the expansion.

A Door of Hope’s mission is to ensure every child in crisis has a home filled with hope and love.

“This little boy I got was taken from his home very suddenly and he needed a bed that night. And the A Door of Hope family was able to say, ‘We have a bed,’” said Cynthia Farrell, a foster parent and former board member for A Door of Hope.

“I don’t know what’s important to people. Everybody has a life. Everybody has resources. Everybody has a certain amount of time. But I wonder what’s more important when there is a child who needs a bed?”

A Door of Hope currently serves a significant share of the state’s foster care needs, with more than 3,000 kids in the Tampa Bay area under its service area. The Tampa-area foster care it provides accounts for about 30% of all foster children in Florida.

With the expansion, A Door of Hope plans to replicate its Tampa model of recruiting, training, licensing and supporting foster families in the newly served counties, aspects that are crucial to ensure there are enough families to serve kids in need.

The organization shared a story to punctuate the restorative power of foster care.

“We came home from our aunt’s house and we were showing them (her foster parents) all the stuff we got and they said, ‘Oh we have a surprise for you,’” explained Mora of the day she learned her foster parents wanted to adopt her.

“So then I just opened (the present) and I didn’t even realize there was a card on top. Then they go, ‘did you see the card?’ I opened it (and it said), ‘will you be our forever foster (with foster crossed out) daughters?’ And I just started crying cause I knew I was going to be there forever.”

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704