History shows the early 1970s were a challenging time for foster parents in New Jersey. At the start of the decade, there was no local organization for foster parents to join to get support, advise them on advocating for foster children, or even provide training on parenting abused and neglected children and teens. This all began to change in 1972 when a few foster parents met and came to a conclusion.
“Someone has to stand up for the foster children. If not the foster parents, then who?”
NJ Foster Care History Timeline – The 1970s
1972 – Foster parents Sue and Bernie Dondiego and Hattie Talley sit at a kitchen table and discuss issues facing foster parents and how to work together to bring about positive change for the children in their homes. They create the New Jersey Foster Parent Association (NJFPA), known today as Foster and Adoptive Family Services (FAFS).
1974 – FAFS (then known as NJFPA) is incorporated
1974 – FAFS (then known as NJFPA) holds its first meeting at the Shiloh Baptist Church in Trenton, NJ
1974 – FAFS (then known as NJFPA) takes part in NJ Action for Foster Children in State Chambers, State House and members march to the State House to meet with Governor Byrne
1974 – FAFS (then known as NJFPA) holds first statewide training conference on foster care
1974 – FAFS (then known as NJFPA) receives state funding through the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS), now known as the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P)
1975 – FAFS (then known as NJFPA) establishes State level committees developed to serve foster parents
1978 – FAFS (then known as NJFPA) representatives serve on committee that establishes uniform, statewide mandatory pre-service training for foster parents
1978 – FAFS (then known as NJFPA) representatives serve on committee to establish Child Placement Review Boards
1978 – FAFS (then known as NJFPA) representative and other child advocates testify at Joint Appropriation Hearing and successfully receive a 26% increase in reimbursement rates for children in foster care
Over the last 4 decades, FAFS has made innovations that have greatly improved the quality of life for foster children and foster parents in New Jersey. To learn more, visit www.fafsonline.org.