Our Story

Vision 

To dramatically reduce the number of children who have been in foster care for over 1 year.

Mission

The Mission of New Life Village is to provide a supportive environment, within an inter-generational community, for children in need of a safe and stable family experience.

The Village exists to reduce the number of children in long term foster care by encouraging more families to adopt or to prevent them from entering into foster care at all. New Life Village supports the foster care system by providing program rich, below market housing to foster-adoptive and kinship families of children, many who have survived abuse, neglect and trauma. Seniors living in the community serve as surrogate grandparents, volunteers, and tutors. Our community provides children a loving, supportive place to call home while also connecting their parents to a community of supports and resources. It is the only community of its kind in Florida!

History

New Life Village was founded by Sister Claire LeBoeuf, of the Congregation of Sisters of Holy Cross. 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.

Our Values

  • Faith
  • Appreciation
  • Kindness
  • Collaboration
  • Sharing
  • Love
  • Education
  • Safety
  • Family
  • Gratitude
  • Respect
  • Boundaries

Why Do We Exist?

Both nationally and locally, the foster care system is filled with children who need to find a forever home.  These kids have been through more than most of us can imagine and end up in foster care through no fault of their own.

Nationally…

  • There are a little over 400,000 children in foster care in the United States.
  • A little over half of these children remain in care for at least one year.
  • Nearly 50,000 of these children will remain in foster care for five years or more.
  • Approximately 30,000 children remain in foster care into adulthood.
  • Annual and state expenditures for foster care total more than $9 billion a year.
  • It costs the average taxpayer in Florida $40,000 a year for every child who does not have a permanent home.

In Hillsborough County, Florida…

Hillsborough County is amidst both a Foster Care and an Affordable Housing crisis. There simply are not enough affordable housing options for seniors and low income families and there are also not enough foster homes for the volume of children entering into the system of care.

  • Florida is 3rd in the country with the amount of children affected by foster care and Hillsborough County is 1st in the state.
  • During the 2016-2017 fiscal year, 17,623 children entered out-of-home care in Florida. As of June 30, 2017, 13,646 children were in kinship care, while 9,460 were in licensed foster care state-wide.
  • In Hillsborough county (as of 2/28/18) there are 3,828 children under supervision in the system of care, with 6,883 children under supervision in the system of care in the tri-county area.
  • In 2012, there were 2,800 in the system of care in Hillsborough County. The dramatic increase is correlated with rising opioid crisis.
  • Many older children end up living in group homes where they remain until they “age out” of the foster care system there after often becoming part of the homeless population or having children of their own who also end up in foster care.
  • Children who languish in foster care have a far greater chance of dropping out of high school, becoming a teen parent, abusing substances, and being homeless.