The New Jersey Foster Parent Association (NJFPA, now Foster and Adoptive Family Services or FAFS) began in a foster parent’s home in Middlesex County, New Jersey in the early 1970s. As the need for advocacy grew, FAFS obtained a contract from the state and eventually moved from New Brunswick to Trenton, New Jersey. This brought the NJFPA in closer proximity to the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS), which is now known as the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P). A lot of progression has occurred since then. However, with the transition of FAFS and the many changes that have occurred it rings true that with change, the mission remains the same.
FAFS was headquartered in Trenton throughout the 1980s before returning to its permanent home in Middlesex County in 1994. Sue Dondiego, one of FAFS’ founders noted, “From its humble beginnings as an all volunteer organization to the present day, FAFS has focused their time, talents and hard work to develop programs, projects and activities that would improve the lives of resource parents and the children in their care.” What started with just a handful of people in 1974 has developed into an organization of many people with the talents and backgrounds that form the thriving group FAFS is today. Continue reading
The word orphanage often conjures up images of raggedy Oliver Twist and Annie in destitute surroundings with scores of poor children, but the institution holds a vital place in the history of caring for foster children dating back to the late 19th century.
During a time when few options existed, orphanages housed and cared for children who were abandoned or whose parents were temporarily unable to care for them. Continue reading
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.”
In 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
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.
Prior 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
Forty-years is a long time. Four decades, full of their own fads, their own entertainment and their own technology have come and gone. Some of these things are remembered as a novelty, others are long forgotten.
But Foster and Adoptive Family Services, which was founded in 1974, continued to grow and provide support, training and advocacy to meet the special needs of foster, adoptive and kinship families in New Jersey before and after these popular ‘80s fads bit the dust.
Here are 5 things that came and went in the 1980s while FAFS continued on. Continue reading