By Kathy L. Collins

According to Eckerd, a national leader in helping at risk youth and their families, there are more than 100 children in Hillsborough County each month who need placement with foster parents. It is for this reason that several area churches including Bay Life Church, Bell Shoals Baptist Church and the Crossings Church, have begun serving as venues for Foster Parent Training Classes conducted by 4KIDS of Tampa, a faith-based foster care program.

On Tuesday, May 7 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. an orientation will be held at Bay Life Church located at 1017 Kingsway Rd. in Brandon. Foster Parent Training classes will then be held on Tuesday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. at Bay Life Church from Tuesday, May 17 through Tuesday, June 25.

The first of these faith-based Foster Parent Training Classes was held at Bell Shoal’s Baptist Church in the fall.  Approximately 35 attended.

All classes, background checks and other pertinent applications, examinations and the like will be conducted by 4KIDS of Tampa.

Modern Orphans is a ministry of Bay Life Church. Scott Mulhollen is the Modern Orphans Coordinator. Mulhollen said, “The need for foster parents in Eastern Hillsborough County is great. In fact, some children are being sent to live in foster homes in surrounding counties due to the lack of foster parents in Hillsborough County.”

Mulhollen further explained that there is a great need for respite foster care parents as well. “Respite foster care parents are use by permanent foster care parents when they need to go out of town for a day or two. They are also used for short stays (one to two days) when authorities are looking for a foster home,” said Mulhollen.

If you have ever wanted to help a child in need and have thought about becoming a foster parent, either a permanent one or a respite, then you should attend the orientation. Child care is available, but you must reserve a spot.

For info on Foster Parent Training classes and to register, please call 384-8537 or email


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