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
We have been discussing the progression of FAFS’ training from its inception in the 1970s and ‘80s through the 1990s. In just three decades, the world has shifted from a close-knit culture into a culture that is all about the microwave lifestyle – we want a quality product that is relevant to our needs delivered in a quick and convenient manner. In our society, it almost seems as if yesterday was too late. That just seems to be a sign of the times – wanting what we need and wanting it NOW.
Fortunately, FAFS has been poised to address the concerns foster parents have regarding their growth and development and how it affects the children in their care; today training is available in ways that are more convenient than ever before. Continue reading
In 2003, a harrowing case of a seven-year-old, Faheem Williams, found dead and his brothers found neglected and malnourished in a Newark home sparked a flame that fueled an ongoing lawsuit and began a reform for child welfare in New Jersey. This heartbreaking story of abuse rang so loud, it caught the attention of then Governor James E. McGreevey who mandated the state to go through an extensive review of Division of Youth and Family Services’ (DYFS) practices. Later that year was another case involving four brothers in Collingswood New Jersey who, after a history of being in foster care, were adopted. They were later found to be highly malnourished and neglected by their adoptive parents. The children were removed from their home and the surviving adoptive mother was sent to prison. Continue reading
A foster parent’s job isn’t easy.
The sheer amount of passion, vigilance and care a foster parent has to possess is exhausting on the best day, let alone on a day where you’ve had to fight tooth and nail for the appropriate medication or care for a child in your home. But before a foster parent succumbs to frustration and decides it’s time to close her home, it’s important to take a step back, breathe and remember that there are children out there that need you. 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