Recently we invited all our foster parents to our offices for an evening of free pizza, complementary child care and a discussion with experts on the latest news in foster care. In other words, we held our Intensive Foster Care Annual Meeting in early July.
The Annual Meeting began with a welcome to the new foster families who joined CFCS in the past year, before diving into the conversation. We talked about recent trends in foster care, especially the need for more foster homes; homes are especially needed for babies, teens and kids with more intense needs, such as medical needs or Autism diagnoses. We also discussed changes in the Department of Children and Families’ policy that encourage permanency and strengthening sibling connections. Some of our foster parents have great success in coordinating with other foster parents to allow kids to spend more time with their siblings through normative experiences such as sleepovers. And finally, we discussed how CFCS will ensure our foster parents are involved in our team’s planning around permanency and recruiting new foster homes, including opportunities for them to get more directly involved in our planning process if they’re interested.
Some of the foster parents at the meeting had worked with CFCS for over ten years; others had taken in their first foster child in 2019. The Annual Meeting was a great opportunity for our foster families with different experiences to share their ideas on parenting, recruiting and new DCF changes. It was also great to have all these parents in one room so they got to meet one another.
We always appreciate IFC’s Annual Meeting, because it’s a chance to change up the context in which we talk with our foster families about what they do. Usually when we meet with and counsel them, we’re in their homes, helping them to navigate challenging situations. This meeting at our offices offers a neutral ground for everyone to gather, relax a bit and chat openly not just with us but with each other about what it’s like to foster.
Our foster families are so important to us because they provide safety, consistency, emotional support and countless resources to children who have been through extreme trauma. We are proud to be able to connect with them, and connect them with each other, on a regular basis. We believe that the stronger our communities and networks are, the better we can take care of each other.
If you’re interested in or have questions about becoming a foster parent with CFCS, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 857-453-4061 today!