To dramatically reduce the number of children who have been in foster care for over 1 year.
The mission of New Life Village is to reduce the number of children in foster care by encouraging more families to adopt by providing these adoptive families a loving, supportive neighborhood to call home. Our “Home” is an intergenerational residential community designed for families raising foster and adopted children. New Life Village residents have either adopted a child from foster care or are in the process of doing so. Several supportive seniors also call New Life Village home. They serve as surrogate grandparents and volunteers to the children and to the mission. The Village offers a reduced rent incentive to assist these families and seniors. The Village also offers a program to support parents and children.
Though never in foster care, after her mother’s death, Sister Claire of the Sisters of Holy Cross, experienced firsthand what it means to be in a family where one simply doesn’t belong. In 2005, after founding New Life Dwelling Place in 1982 and Everyday Blessings in 1997, two other non-profits supporting foster, reunification and adoptive families, she attended a town hall meeting to discuss potential community solutions to address the unprecedented number of children in foster care in Hillsborough County. Two of the most challenging issues discussed in small break-out groups during this half-day session included the need to reduce the number of children languishing in foster care and the need for emergency shelter placements that would allow siblings to stay together. Sister Claire LeBoeuf was a member of the workgroup discussing the number of older children in foster care who spent years moving from one home to another without having a permanent adoptive home. The workgroup discussion included an innovative program in Illinois called Hope Meadows that was reducing the number of children in foster care who had historically lingered in the system (children older than age six, or children with disabilities, or sibling groups of children). Hope Meadows by provided low cost housing and on-site services and supports for adoptive families in a community that housed similar families and seniors who were willing to serve as surrogate grandparents to the children. After traveling to Illinois and touring Hope Meadows, Sister Claire found the investors and the Board who shared her vision. Together they founded New Life Village in 2008, and in 2013, after finding and finishing the development of the property in Palm River, the town homes were ready to be called “home”.
While New Life Village is founded by a nun, our community is non-denominational and we welcome residents of all faiths and family orientations. Intentional intergenerational communities are being established all over the country to pair populations needing service with talented seniors who can serve them. Similar Generations of Hope communities serve veterans, autistic children, dependent seniors, transitioning families, and foster-to-adopt families.