How are children selected for sponsorship?
Tampa Bay’s Child is a voluntary program that helps loving parents help their children succeed – and is not intended to foster dependence or add to the often overwhelming burdens low-income parents already face. The program works with local agencies to identify kids whose families are in dire financial straits but whose parents are either working at a job or attending school to better the family’s situation. Tampa Bay’s Child’s goal is to identify and sponsor the most disadvantaged children in the county.

May I select a child of a particular age or gender?

Yes, in all likelihood. When the program has more than one child available for sponsorship, Tampa Bay’s Child works with the sponsor to identify the age and gender of child the sponsor may prefer. Where the sponsor has no particular preference, the program will likely pair the sponsor with a toddler, since the goal of the program is to begin building the child’s school readiness at the earliest age possible.

What goods or services might my sponsorship provide?

Sponsors’ donations may be used to purchase a range of items and services that boost the child’s physical and mental health and, with it, school readiness. That includes both basic necessities – to the extent they are not already available to the family – and more school-related items. Here is a list:
    Nutritional Supplements
    Health Screenings (including eye and hearing exams)*
    Therapeutic and medical devices*
    Baby Thermometers
    Dental work*
    Personal Care Items
    Clothes and Shoes
    Bed Linens
    Car seat
    Household Items that directly benefit the child
    Window Locks
    Child-proof fencing
    First Aid Kits and Items
    Educational Toys and Games
    Magnetic Letters
    School Supplies
    Eye Glasses
    Desk and Chair
    Educational Assessments
    Occupational Therapy
    After-school enrichment
    Field Trip
    Sports Equipment
    Summer camp opportunities

*Only that portion not otherwise covered by Medicaid or S-CHIP.

How long does sponsorship last?

That is up to the sponsor, though we do ask that sponsorship continue at least through the end of first school year in which the sponsorship began. While monthly contributions may be discontinued at any time, many sponsors may choose to continue sponsorship through the child’s elementary school years.

What if my sponsored child moves away?
If the sponsor’s child discontinues participation in the program (because of a move or lack of need), the sponsor will be notified and given the opportunity to sponsor another child.

How can I be sure that my money is not duplicating or taking the place of other private or public sources of support for the child?
Children are selected for sponsorship only if their needs remain unmet after their family receives all they are “due” from governmental benefits and sources. Tampa Bay’s Child will not purchase goods or services that are already the obligation of governmental agencies or are being supplied by other private agencies.

How can I be sure that my money is really benefiting my sponsored child?

The leaders of Tampa Bay’s Child work closely with the parents or caregivers of sponsored children to identify the particular goods or services the sponsored child needs that month. Once those needs are identified, program leaders are the ones that actually purchase and deliver the goods. This “middleman” approach ensures that sponsor funds are used as intended – to benefit each sponsored child according to his or her special needs.

May I meet or talk with my sponsored child?
To protect the privacy of both sponsors and the families of sponsored children, Tampa Bay’s Child does not divulge the full name or address of either the sponsor or the child. (The only exception is when both the sponsor and the child’s parent/caregiver have given permission, in writing.) At the same time, Tampa Bay’s Child encourages sponsors to write to their sponsored children at any time, by sending letters, through the organization, bearing the child’s name and ID #. The program will immediately forward any and all correspondence to the child.

May I pay my sponsor contributions in a bulk amount for convenience?
Absolutely. Sponsors may submit their payments monthly, semi-annually, or annually. In the future, they may also have the option of signing up for automatic withdrawals from a major credit-card.

May I pay more than the monthly sponsor contribution of $28?
Most certainly, if that is the sponsor’s wish. While Tampa Bay’s Child will never pressure a sponsor into contributing more than the minimum monthly amount, the sponsor is free to contribute a greater amount at any time. Sponsors are alerted when the child’s birthday is approaching and are given the opportunity to send a gift, as they are during the winter-holiday season.

Would I be my sponsored child’s only sponsor?
Most likely. Only in rare circumstances would Tampa Bay’s Child assign two sponsors to the same child – and then, only with both sponsors’ knowledge and assent.

Do my child’s siblings also have a sponsor?
In many cases, yes. That would depend on many factors, including the needs of the family, availability of sponsors, and spread in ages among the siblings.

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