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Fostering Hearts FL and Joshua House Launch Innovative Pilot Program to Transform Foster Children's Education

Tampa Bay, FL, March 4, 2024 – Fostering Hearts FL, in partnership with Joshua House, is thrilled to announce the launch of an innovative pilot program aimed at transforming the educational journey of foster children within the Tampa Bay area. This initiative represents a significant step forward in our mission to address the unique challenges faced by foster children in the educational system.

Foster children often encounter numerous barriers in traditional schooling environments, especially those recovering from trauma. Recognizing these challenges, Fostering Hearts FL and Joshua House have come together to create a nurturing and supportive learning space that caters specifically to the needs of these young individuals.

Dede Grundel, the Executive Director at Joshua House, emphasized the importance of this initiative, noting the anxiety and social challenges foster children face when attending public schools. "With the complex traumas they've endured, a large classroom setting can exacerbate their anxiety, making daily attendance a struggle," she explains.

The pilot program aims to alleviate these challenges by enabling children to engage in their education within the safety and comfort of their foster home environment. This approach minimizes stress and anxiety and provides the personalized attention necessary for their academic and personal growth.

Katy Rey, representing Fostering Hearts FL, underscored the urgency of this initiative, pointing out the alarmingly low high school graduation rates among foster children. "Currently, less than half of foster kids are completing high school. It's imperative we provide these kids with the resources and support they need to succeed," Rey states.

At the core of our pilot program is the integration of online schooling through Florida Virtual School, complemented by on-site teachers dedicated to customizing lesson plans and offering individualized attention. This dual approach ensures that children can learn at their own pace in a familiar environment, guided and supported by educators skilled in addressing diverse learning needs.

"We're introducing a structured classroom experience that's adaptable to the various educational levels of the children we serve," Grundel adds, highlighting the program's ability to foster academic catch-up, confidence rebuilding, and overall development.

As we prepare to roll out this pilot at Joshua House in August, we're filled with hope and determination to expand this model to other foster care centers across the Tampa Bay area.

Through this initiative, Fostering Hearts FL is committed to empowering foster children to not only survive but thrive, equipped with the education and confidence needed for a brighter future.

For more information about the pilot program and how you can support this transformative initiative, please visit or email us at

About Fostering Hearts FL

Fostering Hearts FL is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the holistic development of foster children in the Tampa Bay area. Through innovative educational programs, mentorship, and life skills training, we strive to ensure every foster child has the opportunity to thrive and succeed in life. Together with our partners and community support, we are transforming the lives of foster children by providing them with the tools they need for a flourishing future.

Contact Information

Fostering Hearts FLEmail: info@fosteringheartsfl.orgWebsite:


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