IFC Staff and Executive Director Bob Gittens
If you didn’t already know, the month of May is National Foster Care Month. This is a time for social workers, service providers and community members alike to recognize the challenges youth in the foster care system face, and the work of foster parents who provide care to those youth. This past Saturday, our Intensive Foster Care (IFC) Program celebrated the dedication and hard work of the foster parents we work with at the annual Foster Parent Appreciation Event. Foster families from across the state gathered at 224 Boston to eat a delicious brunch while celebrating their many achievements in the past year and honoring the recipients of the Vivienne Campbell Award, veteran foster parents Tara and Eric President. Stay tuned to read more about the Presidents’ excellent work with foster youth in an upcoming post on our blog this week!
We also took time at the brunch to celebrate the dramatic increase in permanency rates IFC has seen over the past year. Permanency rates are the numbers of youth in the IFC program who move from foster care into placements that have the high potential to become permanent, such as reunification with a stablized birth family, a match with a pre-adoptive family or a strong, healthy connection to a supportive adult within their community, such as a teacher or family friend. Our IFC foster parents play an integral role in supporting permanency for foster youth by collaborating with birth and pre-adoptive families to ensure that they are well-equipped to lovingly parent the youth who will move in with them.
This year, our foster parents worked even harder to collaborate with and advocate on behalf of birth families to ensure their voices were heard within the larger context of the child welfare system. The foster parents’ strong advocacy complemented the efforts made by CFCS and the Department of Children and Families to ensure that when birth families are reunited, parents are equipped to provide an even more successful future for their children. Our foster parents did this on top of the daily work they do to help youth feel safe, comfortable and loved while they must be away from their birth families, and while providing the support youth need to heal from past traumas and begin planning for their futures. It’s been amazing to see our foster parents working so hard to ensure the youth in their homes are able to either go home or find home.
The IFC program staff, along with our Executive Director Bob Gittens, were thrilled to honor the skills, dedication and love that our foster parents share with the youth in our community on a daily basis. Although we all hope for a world where no youth need to find themselves in a situation where they’re unable to remain with their parents, we’re proud to provide such caring and loving temporary care while youth need it most. Thank you to all of our amazing foster parents for all that you do!