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TAMPA, Florida (AP) - Florida child welfare officials are pleading with residents to consider opening their home to a foster child with special needs.

More than 800 foster children who have been diagnosed with a disability are in need of a loving family. The Department of Children and Families launched a campaign Wednesday to raise awareness about fostering and adopting foster youth with physical, emotional and mental disabilities. These children are typically the most difficult to place in foster homes.

The campaign aims to demystify the process and highlight the joy special needs children can bring to a family. A new resource guide for parents answers frequently asked questions, where to go for medical support, who to call for educational assistance and connections to resources such as training and support groups.

For more information about the campaign or to find out how to get started on path to caring for a special needs child, visit www.MyFLFamilies.com/SpecialHeart.

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