3 child welfare agencies make pitches to replace Eckerd

8 On Your Side

(WFLA photo)

LARGO, Fla. (WFLA) — Three child welfare agencies made presentations to replace Eckerd Connects in Pasco and Pinellas counties at a recent meeting in Largo, offering to serve an area that includes more than 3,500 children.

Eckerd and the Florida Department of Children and Families decided not to renew their current contract in those two counties that expires at the end of the year. Eckerd officials have also said they plan on allowing the Hillsborough County contract with DCF to expire at the end of next June.

Kids Central Inc., Safe Families for Children and Family Support Services made pitches Wednesday to take over for the agency that has run child welfare services in Judicial Circuit 6 since 2008.

Kids Central Inc. is based in Wildwood, Florida, and currently has a footprint in the Tampa Bay area with the DCF contract in Hernando, Citrus, Sumter, Marion and Lake counties.

Safe Families For Children, based in Chicago, Illinois, also has a Florida presence with DCF. That agency has seven locations in the state and would be partnering with Lydia Home, another agency based in Chicago.

Family Support Services is based in Jacksonville, Florida and currently serves Duval and Nassau counties.

DCF has not answered several requests from 8 On Your Side for the number of bidders who met last Friday’s deadline. The cost of the contract has not been released.

Eckerd received $80 million this year to run its bay area programs.

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