Foster Parent Training in the 1980s – The Progression of FAFS Training Part 1

To quote Chinese philosopher, Lao-Tse, “If you tell me, I will listen. If you show me, I will see. But if you let me experience, I will learn.”

Parent and Child BondingIn terms of foster parent training, the purpose is to learn how to provide the best care possible for children that enter into your home. It is no doubt important to be as prepared as you can be so the child in your care has everything he needs to be happy and healthy. That basic principle of knowledge in foster care was as true in the 1980s as it is today. The mode in which training is provided, however, has progressed over the decades. We are going to take a look back at how FAFS provided foster parent training in the 1980s. Continue reading

A History of the Termination of Parental Rights

The landmark Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 ushered in a series of changes to the foster care system. The law was important for a litany of reasons, but perhaps none more so than giving clarity to the guidelines for the termination of parental rights.

termination of parental rightsPrior to the milestone act, states adhered to the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980. However, most states interpreted this law as requiring biological families be kept together, regardless of most situations.

That meant rather than terminating parental rights and allowing children to become part of new permanent families, many children in foster care spent their entire childhood in state custody, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Continue reading

Foster Care System History 1960s – 1970s

Attachment Issues:  Foster Care System History 1960s – 1970s

Changes in Foster Care System History 1960s-1970s: Bonding Between Foster Children & Foster ParentsThe idea of what the relationship between foster children and foster parents should be evolved during this crucial time in foster care system history. Bonding between foster parents and foster children was beginning to be encouraged, rather than discouraged. In some cases, this led to fewer moves for children in foster care and greater stability.

(Reprinted from the New Jersey Foster Parents Association’s (now known as Foster and Adoptive Family Services, or FAFS) twentieth anniversary program.)

Foster Care System History 1960s – 1970s – Keep It Moving

In 1963, the agency known as the State Board of Child Welfare became the Bureau of Children’s Services. In 1972, it became the Division of Youth and Family Services (now known as the Division of Child Placement and Permanency, or DCP&P).

As the agency grew and changed, some of its practices failed to keep pace with the developing philosophy of permanency planning. For instance, many social workers regularly moved children from one foster home to another to avoid having foster parents and foster children become too attached — in other words, to avoid what today is called “bonding” (and is encouraged). And many social workers excluded foster parents from every aspect of planning for the child’s future.

Fortunately, in the early 1970s, there were some social workers who had a different notion about the role of foster parents in a child’s life, and word of this modern attitude began to travel through the loosely-knit foster parent network.

More and more foster parents came to believe that someone must speak out on behalf of foster children, and if not for foster parents, then who?

This conviction led to the founding of the New Jersey Foster Parent Association, now known as Foster and Adoptive Family Services (FAFS) in 1974, one of the most significant milestones in foster care system history in NJ in the 1970s.

Foster Care History 1940s – 1950’s

Cod Liver Oil, Outgrown Shoes and Visitors – Foster Care History 1940s – 1950s

Long before foster care organizations like Foster and Adoptive Family Services were established, life was very different for foster children and foster parents than it is today. This information on Foster Care History in the 1940s – 1950s is reprinted from the New Jersey Foster Parents Association’s (now known as Foster and Adoptive Family Services, or FAFS) twentieth anniversary program.

Foster Care History – Medicine, Nutrition and Clothing

foster care historyA 1942 publication of “A Home Should Provide” by the State Board of Child Guardians, suggested to foster parents that “Cod liver oil should be given to children under four years of age from September through May, and in certain instances throughout the year.” (Cod liver oil was thought to boost the immune system and protect children from colds and flu.)

Back then, the agency provided milk to foster children through contract with a delivery company and foster parents had to advise the agency promptly if the milk delivery was irregular in coming.

Clothing for children in foster care was provided through a large supply house run by the Board. Foster parents were urged to carefully measure their foster children twice a year so their clothing requests could be submitted. Foster parents also had to plan for a child’s foot growth at least once a month in advance to be sure that a replacement pair of shoes could be obtained in time. Continue reading

Changes in Foster Care | Responding to Families’ Changing Needs

Responding to Changes in Foster Care Placements

Changes in Foster Care - Kinship Care

Changes in Foster Care – Kinship Care

I’ve been involved with FAFS for 9 years now, and we’ve always responded to the changing needs of our families. Unlike some other foster care organizations, FAFS has done a tremendous job in staying current and viable as we continue to see more and more changes in foster care. We are just as relevant and forward thinking as we were 10, 15, and 20+ years ago.

One of the biggest changes in foster care we’ve seen over our years is that when we started, there were sooo many children and not enough homes. Now too many homes, and not alot of children to place in them (in our area). The future of foster care in kinship care. FAFS’ programs will be heading in that direction, but I foresee the landscape changing again as children start aging out of kinship or difficulties develop within kinship homes.

Changes in Foster Care – Helping Kinship Caregivers

Kinship caregivers who are new to the foster care system often need assistance navigating the ins and outs of DCP&P policy, etc., and FAFS is reaching out to grandparents raising grandchildren in NJ, as well as other relatives and friends coming to the aid of our state’s most vulnerable children.

FAFS promotes the theory that foster parents are the foster child’s best advocates, and they assist us in being just that. My involvement with Foster and Adoptive Family Services helped me be a better foster parent by shedding light on this important duty.

From the NJ foster parent support group side (our Support Networks, also known as Volunteer Committees), relationships have been strengthened with the Board of Directors over the years. No matter what changes in foster care have come and gone over our forty years of service, FAFS has always maintained a stronghold in our field of expertise: being the voice of foster, adoptive and kinship families in New Jersey.

FAFS is well rounded and versed in all aspects of foster care, including kinship care. Its like “one stop shopping” with all of your answers under one roof. To learn more, please visit