MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – Hundreds of kids across the state in foster care have received an early Christmas present – a trip to spend the holiday with relatives or family friends.

The Department of Children and Families says roughly 1,110 foster children will visit relatives or family friends in Florida or in another state. Miami child welfare workers sent a 15-year-old teen to New Jersey this week to visit a great aunt he hadn’t since in years.

Another 784 children are being adopted or reunified with their parents this holiday season.

Secretary David Wilkins said it’s especially important to make sure foster children are surrounded by familiar faces during this time of year.

The visits require judges, guardians, foster families and case managers to coordinate background screenings, court orders and travel arrangements.

The state’s private contractors often pick up the tab for travel expenses.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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