Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine: Get to know Eckerd Connects

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Every year, nearly 34,000 children and families benefit from services provided by Eckerd Connects. 

Formerly known as Eckerd Kids, Eckerd Connects is creating opportunities across the nation for people to find the solutions they need. 

A Legacy of Caring 

In 1968, our founders Jack and Ruth Eckerd set out to create healthy and successful alternatives for youth. Since then, the organization’s programs have multiplied. Committed to connecting people to the opportunities they need to succeed, Eckerd Connects’ reach extends beyond the world of child welfare. We are so ingrained in the betterment of our community that we also help young people exiting the juvenile justice system to have a healthy and productive transition. Eckerd Connects also works to equip those who lack job readiness skills with the training and experience they need to join the workforce. Now in 20 states and the District of Columbia, the Clearwater-based organization has helped more than 200,000 children and families since its inception. 

In Florida, foster children are paired with caring families who have made room in their hearts and their homes. 

In Kansas, parents work with therapists to help children learn social and emotional strategies to excel in school. 

In North Carolina, young boys exiting the juvenile justice system are changing their behavior and getting the training they need to productively contribute to their communities.  

In Georgia, displaced workers are getting licenses and certificates to help them re-enter the workforce. 

Committed to Children and Families 

For the past 50 years, Eckerd Connects has been working to ensure that the most vulnerable members of the community receive the opportunities they need to succeed. This commitment to children and families has made the organization one of the biggest private non-profits helping children in the country. In Tampa Bay, Eckerd Connects is responsible for foster care and adoption in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties. Through strong and lasting partnerships, we are working to support children, young adults, and families. 

Eckerd Connects does so much more than foster care and adoption: 

  • Collecting emergency and comfort items like clothes, hygiene products and school supplies for kids entering the foster care system (Eckerd Raising Hope) 
  • Challenging adolescent girls to realize their full potential through counseling and education in an outdoor therapeutic school (E-Nini-Hassee)   
  • Guiding young people who are looking to transition from the juvenile justice system through positive coaching, training and community service (Project Bridge) 
Eckerd Connects Rapid Safety Feedback 

Eckerd Connects Rapid Safety Feedback® is a software program that produces real-time data to help child welfare agencies identify the most high-risk cases. Recognized nationally for its success, the technology works to ensure critical safety practices are being implemented in cases with the highest probability of serious injury or death. So far, Eckerd Connects Rapid Safety Feedback has helped in the review of more than 1,500 open cases. This program is being utilized in more than 10 states. We are proud to have developed a program that is helping to save lives across the country. 

With our support, many children and families are well on their way to happier, healthier lives.  

Help us help others by volunteering, donating, fostering or adopting today. 

Eckerd Connects does so much more than foster care and adoption: 

*post-adoption support 
*Early Head Start 
*Fostering Education Initiative 
*school-based anti-bullying programs 
*skills and employability training for adult and dislocated workers