Children & Youth

First Hug

For ages 0-middle school

First Hug is a child-centered program ensuring that Hillsborough County children are ready to learn and succeed and provides wraparound preventative services to alleviate family stress. First Hug is a home visitation and case management program specially designed for families struggling with homelessness with children birth through middle school. Home visitation and personalized case management assure children are ready for school and provide parents with tools to advocate for their child and connect to school and safety resources.

About First Hug
  • Developmental screenings to assess children’s readiness to learn (ages 0-5)
  • Referrals and connections to community resources to assure children are ready for school
  • Reduce barriers to school attendance and success for children ages 5-middle school
  • Help parents build positive relationships with their child’s school to increase the child’s opportunity for success
How case managers work with families
  • Assess the unique needs of each family and work together to develop a client-driven self-sufficiency plan
  • Reduce family stress and the impact of trauma
  • Meet weekly to assist families as they work towards stabilization
  • Provide resources and tools to support healthy family relationships and safe living environments
  • Provide employment, adult education, connection to job placement services
  • Identify safe housing options

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For ages 2-3

ParentChild+ is a national early learning program for Hillsborough County children ages two to three years old. This program aids under-resourced parents or guardians of children by providing home visitors for help with developing their child’s reading and early learning skills—offering encouragement for parents and preparing children for school readiness and life success.

About ParentChild+
  • Each family receives 92 home visits (twice a week) throughout the two years of the program.
  • Trained community-based Early Literacy Specialists model reading, play, and conversation activities for parents and children together.
  • Families receive at least 46 books and educational toys to build language and literacy-rich homes.
  • Curriculum guides provide families with literacy, numeracy, and school readiness activities.
  • Families are connected to other needed supports, including housing, medical, and educational services.
  • Site staff works with families to ensure every graduate is linked to future educational services and is equipped for school success through school supplies & backpacks.
  • Professional site coordinators provide insight for early literacy specialists and oversee support and referrals for families.

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These services are available thanks to a grant from the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County.

Patricia J. Sullivan Partnership School

Patricia J. Sullivan Partnership School opened in 2015 and is part of Hillsborough County Public Schools.

The Patricia J. Sullivan Partnership School offers families in our care a trauma-informed option for students in kindergarten through 5th grade. In close partnership with Hillsborough County Public Schools, parents, and our dedicated staff, we help students achieve academic success and social and emotional growth.


Family Support Centers

We daily provide services to families, seniors, and adults preventing homelessness through our services at Family Support Centers in Hillsborough and Pasco counties.

Families who are on the brink of homelessness or have become homeless don’t know there is help available to them. Sometimes, state services can provide just what they need to get through the crisis. But it isn’t easy to navigate the system. Other times, a family needs more than just a patch on their problem.

What we provide
  • Assistance with rent
  • Assistance with utility bills
  • Children’s learning center
  • Employment and financial classes
  • Family reunification
  • GED classes
  • Holiday assistance (Thanksgiving and Christmas meals)
  • Legal counseling
  • Meal sites (daily hot meals served by partner organizations)
  • Metro Market food pantry
  • Metro Outfitters clothing closet
  • Rehousing before becoming homeless

Residential Program Intake Assessment: We evaluate individuals at risk of homelessness or currently homeless for compatibility with our emergency shelter or transitional housing program. If preliminary criteria are met, we will ensure they get to intake for further evaluation; if the requirements are not met, we will offer alternatives in the community that better meet their preferences or needs.

Metro BrigAIDe Mobile Outreach Team

The team delivers services to single, seniors, or chronically homeless individuals who might otherwise not have access to them—meeting the needs where they are and raising awareness about existing services in the community. AmeriCorps members are essential team members for this program.

What we provide

  • Birth certificates for those seeking employment
  • Clothing and hygiene
  • Coordinated entry assessments: VI-SPDAT (vulnerability index-service prioritization decision tool), rapid rehousing, permanent supportive housing
  • Employment services (job search, resume building, interview skills)
  • Entry into UNITY (HMIS – homeless management information system)
  • Family reunification assistance
  • Florida State benefits (Florida State ID voucher, food stamps, cash assistance, Medicaid)
  • Resource referrals to other helping agencies
  • SSI/SSD, Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR)
  • UNITY/Metro ID cards (may be used to gain access and services to various helping agencies in Tampa Bay)