Cambridge Family & Children's Service

Frequently Asked Questions

+ How is Intensive Foster Care different than DCF foster care?

The Department of Children and Families has a contract with Cambridge Family & Children’s Service to recruit foster homes and provide case management services to the children placed in those homes. With this, the foster home is an independent contractor with CFCS and is supported by CFCS staff, such as a social worker and a family resource coordinator, who will collaborate with DCF around providing treatment to the children. IFC parents have more supports in place due to the higher level of needs of the children placed.

+ What supports are available to IFC foster parents?

Our IFC program uses a team approach to providing individualized support and attention to our foster parents. The resources available to our foster parents are:

Family Resource Coordinator Each family is assigned a Family Resource Coordinator who is familiar with your home, your family and your needs. They will meet with you in the home every month, at least. If you need more support you can reach out to this person any time.

IFC Social Worker Each youth has a social worker from CFCS assigned to provide thorough case management and support to you and the youth. They will visit you in the home each week, help to assess the youth’s needs and identify appropriate services, coordinate appointments/services and be available to provide support and guidance. A social worker will come to your home 48 hrs after a youth is placed.

Trainings Foster parents are required to complete 20 hours of training per year. The IFC team coordinates free trainings that are held during the day, evening and on weekends. These trainings ensure that foster parents continue to learn, develop new skills and are kept up to date on relevant topics related to providing care for a foster youth.

Our Problem-Solving Group Foster parents gather several times per month in the community and at the office to share ideas and receive support and guidance.

Activities The IFC staff frequently schedules free activities for families and children. These are a great opportunity to build stronger relationships with other foster parents and for youth in foster care to build a community.

Respite In the event of an emergency or when it is necessary to take a break, CFCS will arrange for your foster youth to be placed in another foster home temporarily.

• Our emergency on-call system is available 24-7 to foster parents.

+ What's my role as a foster parent?

Foster parents welcome children into their home and provide them with safety, stability and support. Foster parents are expected to be the primary caretaker for the child, including taking them to appointments, enrolling them in activities, helping them to develop improved social and independent living skills and providing a therapeutic environment to promote healthy growth and development.

+ Who are the children in foster care?

Children in the child welfare system range in age from 0 to 22 years old. They come from a variety of ethnic, racial, religious and linguistic backgrounds.

+ How long will a child be in a foster home?

The average length of placement is approximately one year. However, this can vary and be short-term or long-term depending on each child’s specific situation.

+ What kinds of challenges do children in IFC experience?

Children in intensive foster care often present with complex medical issues, intense emotional or behavioral issues, are developmentally delayed, are part of a sibling group or are court involved.

+ Are foster parents paid?

Foster parents are independent contractors and receive a tax-free reimbursement of $59.39/day from CFCS.

+ What other financial support is available?

Foster children receive additional benefits, including health/dental insurance through MassHealth, quarterly clothing allowance ranging from $185.00-$282.00 depending on the age of the foster child, and birthday and holiday money. Foster children are entitled to participate in the free school lunch program.

+ Do children in foster care return to their parents?

Most children will reunify with their parents or other family members. In these cases, the foster child will likely have on-going visits with their family and the foster parent may have some interactions with biological parents. This may include facilitating phone calls, transporting the child to a visit or having the biological family as part of the team at treatment meetings.

Interaction with biological parents can be a scary thought for many foster parents. The IFC staff will work coordinate with DCF and provide guidelines and support around this kind of contact. Foster parents are not expected to supervise visits or invite biological family members to their home.

+ If a foster child cannot return to their parents, what are the other options?

When DCF determines that a child cannot safely return to their biological family, other options are explored. These include looking for family members who may be able to care for the child, identifying an adoptive family, identifying a caring adult who will make a long-term commitment through guardianship or helping the child to develop skills to live on their own.


The Vivienne Campbell Award

The Vivienne Campbell Award annually recognizes a CFCS foster parent for his/her exemplary dedication and devotion as a caregiver.

The award was established in honor of beloved foster parent Vivienne Campbell after her death in 2015. Vivienne was a foster parent with CFCS for 20 years, as well as the matriarch of a network of CFCS foster parents in the Cambridge and Greater Boston area. Her passing was a tremendous loss for her family, friends, community and the many youth in foster care she offered a safe and nurturing home to. She is remembered for her love, optimism, dedication to young ones, contagious laughter and delicious cooking. Vivienne and her family have opened their homes to over 100 children.

Winners of the Vivienne Campbell Award go above and beyond for every youth who stays with them while in foster care. They make youth in foster care feel welcomed, supported and good about themselves. Their foster homes are consistently stable, nurturing environments for the youth they care for.


Our Community Partners

CFCS’s intensive foster care program wouldn’t be possible without the help of our community partners.