Foster Care Advocates Partner With State For Improved Services

Foster Care AdvocatesWhat started off as a partnership between three foster parents grew into a statewide group of foster care advocates.

One of the reasons Foster and Adoptive Family Services (FAFS) has survived and thrived for forty years is our unique perspective as an organization. Some foster care organizations tend to be in conflict with child welfare agencies. FAFS strives to work with our state’s Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P, formerly DYFS) as foster care advocates to make sure kids in foster care get what they need – including capable and caring foster parents. Continue reading

Support Groups for Foster Parents in NJ: An Invaluable Resource

Support groups for foster parents in NJ are “invaluable” in their efforts to care for the state’s abused and neglected children.

support groups for foster parents in njI got involved in FAFS’ support groups for foster parents in New Jersey very early on. When I began fostering, I received a call from Carol, Ed Ciak’s (FAFS Board Member) wife. At the time, the Division had asked her to contact all new foster parents when they received their first placement. She asked how things were going, asked if I had received the paperwork I needed (Medicaid card, foster parent ID letter, initial clothing allowance, etc.) and then invited me to a New Jersey Foster Parent Association (now Foster and Adoptive Family Services, or FAFS) meeting.

I went, and have been going ever since.

FAFS’ county-based support groups for foster parents in NJ provide opportunities to gain and share information with others who are fostering children through the Division. The group is open to all licensed resource parents in NJ, whether they are foster parents, have adopted from foster care or have taken a relative or friend’s child into their home (kinship).

Get help from people who truly understand when you join support groups for foster parents in NJ.

Caring for a child of another family and co-parenting with DCP&P (formerly DYFS) are unique experiences that most in the general public don’t understand. The advice and support of other foster parents is invaluable. The best advice I’ve received as a foster parent was to 1) attend FAFS meetings and 2) to use the Division chain of command.

Free training for New Jersey foster parents is provided at the county meetings, often by speakers from community organizations. These trainings help foster families identify additional community supports and programs that might meet the needs of their foster children. Information is shared on a variety of topics, including discipline, life books, separation and loss, medical issues, long term effects of exposure to drugs and alcohol in utero, etc.

Attending Middlesex County FAFS’ support group for foster parents is invaluable to me. The speakers we bring in every month teach me about resources available in my community as well as about addressing some of the special needs of children in out-of-home-placement.

Support groups offer advice and empathy to foster parents in NJ.

However, the biggest benefit is the contact with other foster parents. From them, I have learned so much about navigating the system and about advocating for the children in my care. When I am dealing with an issue with one of my children, there has almost always been someone else who has faced that same issue with one of their own and can offer empathy and advice.

I believe it is the support and information I receive at these meetings that has allowed me and my family to foster for as long as we have.

In order to make it even easier for foster parents in NJ to participate in support groups, FAFS has taken them online! Online support networks allow foster adoptive and kinship parents to discuss the issues that matter most to them in a private social network just for them. Learn more about FAFS’ foster parent support groups in NJ.