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
Kinship placement is a growing priority in foster care throughout the U.S.
Kinship Legal Guardianship
When a child can no longer live with his or her birth parents, the state prefers placing the child in the home of a relative or friend instead of a non-relative foster home. This, ideally, will ease the trauma of separation from birth parents while providing a safe environment for the child to live in. It’s a shift in foster care that, according to supporters, has obvious benefits. 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 New Jersey Tuition Waiver – Advocating for Education for Children in Foster Care
At a time when only a handful of states provided tuition coverage to eligible children in foster care, Foster and Adoptive Family Services (FAFS) stepped to the plate and went to bat for the children in care in New Jersey. At the time, FAFS knew how important it was to bring the tuition waiver to the state. FAFS and its Board of Directors knew getting a Tuition Waiver Bill written and to the governor to sign into law would be a huge undertaking – especially considering the work load of the staff and the various offerings that were being provided to the foster care community through the organization.
However, FAFS also knew that this legislation would make a world of difference in the lives of children in care – especially to the older youth making the transition into adulthood. FAFS believed the state providing financial support in education would send a clear message that children in care are just as important as any other child, and they can succeed. A legislative committee spearheaded by then FAFS president, Janet Farrand, began to take steps in passing the New Jersey Tuition Waiver Bill in law. Continue reading