For 40 years, Foster and Adoptive Family Services (FAFS) has provided support, training and advocacy to meet the special needs of foster, adoptive and kinship families, who provide safe, stable and nurturing homes for children in foster care. As our 40th year comes to a close, FAFS CEO Mary Jane Awrachow reflects on what this anniversary means for FAFS moving forward.
A message from FAFS’ CEO Mary Jane Awrachow :
There are three words that signify what the 40th Anniversary of Foster and Adoptive Family Services has meant to us.
The first word is celebration.
This anniversary was a celebration of how FAFS has grown during our 40 years. From our humble beginnings, when Hattie Talley and Sue and Bernie Dondiego sat around a kitchen table in 1972 to the fully staffed robust and active organization we are today, we’ve expanded our services to cover the needs of foster, adoptive and kinship parents.
We are truly a grassroots organization. FAFS was not borne out of influence or power. We were borne of everyday hardworking American people who saw a need.
They had to do it the hard way, the American way. They had to fight a lot of battles.
The second word that comes to mind is appreciation. We have to appreciate that so many people came before us that laid the groundwork and fought those battles. We have to appreciate that the state government reached that point that it considered this partnership. We have to appreciate that families trust enough to reach out to us, to take our training, to utilize our services.
The last word that comes to mind is reflection. Children are the innocent victims of someone’s drug abuse, of someone’s rage. They are the innocent victims of neglect. These societal problems continue to impact children today. When we reflect, we’re saddened that we still need to be here and that families need to be a safety net for these kids.
But as long as the families are here for children in need, we will be here for the families.
We’ll be here to offer them training. We believe very strongly that you need to be trained. It’s critical. Until you have that child in your home, you don’t know what issues you’ll be dealing with.
We’ll be here to connect families. This is not an easy system to navigate and we understand the importance of having others who understand to share with and help.
We’ll be here to help families navigate the scholarship process for children in their care. We believe in it. People have gone from sleeping on a friend’s couch to getting an education. That’s life-changing.
You don’t give up. You keep going. So we won’t ever give up on you.
We’ll keep going, 40 more years and beyond.
Mary Jane Awrachow