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 reasons why children enter foster care have always been varied and are often difficult to rationalize. But recent trends in society are changing the status quo and having a profound effect on the way children enter, exit and return to foster care. This blog will explain the impact of drug abuse on the current state of foster care.
Foster care’s primary mission – providing a suitable home environment for children in need – has stood the test of time, but many other aspects of foster care in the US have evolved substantially since its inception in our early history. Some of the most dramatic differences between past and present lie in the reasons children enter foster care.
In the past, foster care was primarily intended to serve children who had lost their families or whose families were financially or materially unable to provide for them. According to many first-hand accounts, children were most likely to remain in foster care temporarily while their biological parents sought better wages and improved living conditions. If we fast forward to the present, however, we find that that’s no longer the case. 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
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