The founding reason for FAPAC’s existence, systemic advocacy is at the very heart of all our work. FAPAC’s system advocacy is based upon our vision of strong support programs to keep families intact; high quality, well- trained and supported foster family placements when children do need to come into care; serious efforts towards reunification and other permanency; and meaningful and effective post permanency services to support children and families and keep them stable and healthy. Our systemic advocacy agenda is framed by the real and current experiences of our families as well as our own expertise. Utilizing our model that links advocacy and partnership, our systemic work includes advocacy for policies, practices and legislation that will improve the lives of our children and families. FAPAC is highly respected as a stakeholder advocacy group and community partner, and has been responsible for facilitating many significant systemic changes that have positively impacted the lives of children and families served by the DC child welfare system.

Advocacy Priorities

Racial Equity

As parents of Black and Brown children we have an inherent responsibility to couple the true and deep love we have for our children with awareness and tools and advocacy — consciously developing a healthy racial identity for children who must confront systemic, structural racism throughout their lives. We are developing strategies to infuse racial equity lense across all FAPAC activities including training, workshops, and internal processes.

Our Approach

FAPAC has a long history of bringing people to the table for critical and oftentimes challenging and difficult conversations. As trusted brokers in DC’s child welfare arena, FAPAC is known for creating safe spaces for honest dialogue while encouraging people to stretch beyond their comfort zones to grow. We have twenty years of experience in addressing systemic issues as well as individual family concerns by bringing people to the table and facilitating true and meaningful dialogue and change. FAPAC’s approach is unique in the DC child serving community because we are known for our innovations in bringing people together. We consciously plan our programming so that we can embrace the flexibility to afford us opportunities to respond to community needs as they shift and evolve. Before we took on this work, we did an informal landscape assessment to see what was already being initiated by other partners, including DC’s Child and Welfare Services Agency (CFSA). We found that other organizations had picked up the components of traditional “training” especially geared to white parents of Black children; however, the niche we hope to fill is less about training and more about the personal and interpersonal change that can come from cross-racial conversation and conscious building of an anti-racist community for our children.

Enhanced Foster Parent Support

FAPAC is integrally involved with helping CFSA to increase and make consistent the support and resources offered to foster parents. In April 2017, FAPAC submitted a comprehensive list of support needs and suggestions offered by foster parents. To view this document you can click here. FAPAC’s suggestions became the basis for the July Town Hall hosted by CFSA which was designed to specifically discussed the issues of enhanced support as part of the new CFSA redesign. To view the report that came from this Town Hall you can click here.

Inclusion

We aim for inclusion of foster parents as vital members of the child’s team. FAPAC continues to hear from many foster parents who feel that they are not included as members of the child’s team. This is a critical issue that we are working with CFSA to address.

Reasonable and Prudent Parenting

Every day, resource parents must make important decisions for the children and youth in their care about their participation in age and developmentally appropriate extracurricular, social, cultural, and enrichment activities. Participation in these activities is important to a child’s physical and emotional development and overall wellbeing. However, over the years, many children and youth in foster care have been prevented from participating in everyday activities such as sleeping over at a friend’s house, attending a school field trip or learning to drive, because of real and perceived legal and policy limitations. In 2014, Federal law was passed that seeks to address this. The Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act (H.R. 4980) has the intent of improving the opportunities for children and youth in foster care to experience age- and developmentally-appropriate activities just like their classmates and peers not in foster care. To that end, child welfare agencies are now required to provide for the wellbeing of foster children by implementing the “reasonable and prudent parent standard.” In March 2016, the District passed the Supporting Normalcy and Empowering Children in Foster Care Emergency Amendment Act of 2016, DC Act 21-333. This act now addresses how the Reasonable and Prudent Parenting Standard will apply in the District. CFSA has been moving forward in demonstrating the agency commitment to system-wide implementation of a reasonable and prudent parent standard to support normalcy and the healthy development and wellbeing of all children and youth in foster care. Creating this path is complicated, as these RPP standards need to also be closely aligned with the legal and important rights of birth parents when parental rights have not been terminated. FAPAC gives credit to CFSA for their inclusive and comprehensive approach to working through this process. Soon, CFSA expects to be completing a comprehensive Resource Parent Handbook that will cover this topic in detail. Training for foster parents and staff will also become available to help clarify the new guidelines.

Other Priorities

(1) Training, coaching and support to help with parenting children with more complex emotional needs, including adding a cadre of “professional foster parents.”
(2) Ensuring accurate information about resources and policies be given to parents by agency staff
(3) Improved placement procedures and matching
(4) Improving the alignment of messages and practices surrounding the “pre-adoptive” foster parent status.

Legislation & Testimonies

Legislation and Testimonies (click to see)

2/25/2021 – FAPAC Testimony – CFSA Oversight 2021

10/28/2019 – Child Safety and Well-Being Ombudsperson Establishment Act of 2019 before the Council of the District of Columbia Committee on Human Services

2/21/2018 – Child and Family Services Agency Oversight Hearing before the Council of the District of Columbia Committee on Human Services

3/1/2017 – Child and Family Services Agency Oversight Hearing before the District of Columbia Council Committee on Health and Human Services

7/14/2016 – Regarding Bill 21-603, Foster Parent Statements of Rights and Responsibilities Amendment Act of 2016 before the District of Columbia Council Committee on Health and Human Services

3/3/2016 – Child and Family Services Agency Oversight Hearing before the District of Columbia Council Committee on Health and Human Services

7/9/2015 – Confirmation of Ray Davidson before the District of Columbia Council Committee on Health and Human Services

4/28/2015 – Child and Family Services Agency FY ’16 Budget Oversight Hearing

2/18/2015 – Child and Family Services Agency Oversight Hearing before the District of Columbia Council Committee on Health and Human Services

2/12/2014 – Child and Family Services Agency Oversight Hearing before the District of Columbia Council Committee on Human Services

2/26/2013 – Child and Family Services Agency Oversight Hearing before the District of Columbia Council Committee on Human Services

4/2/2012 – Budget Oversight Hearing FY 2013 Child and Family Services Agency before the Council of the District of Columbia Committee on Human Services

3/16/2012 – Confirmation hearing of Brenda Donald as Director of Child and Family Services Agency before the Council of the District of Columbia Committee on Human Services

2/10/2012 – Child and Family Services Agency Oversight Hearing before the District of Columbia Council Committee on Human Services

7/12/2011 – Foster Youth Rights Amendment Act of 2012, Bill 19-803 before the District of Columbia Council Committee on Human Services

4/18/2011 – Child and Family Services Agency FY 2012 Budget Hearing before the District of Columbia Council Committee on Human Services

12/1/2010 – Adoption Reform Amendment Act of 2010

3/1/2010 – Performance Oversight Hearing for the Child and Family Services Agency before the District of Columbia Council Committee on Human Services

3/4/2010 – Regarding Bill 18-0547, The Adoption Reform Amendment Act of 2009 before the District of Columbia Council Committee on Human Services

5/13/2009 – Confirmation Hearing of Dr. Roque R. Gerald as Director of Child and Family Services Agency before The Committee on Human Services, District of Columbia City Council

2/25/2009 – Child and Family Services Agency Oversight Hearing Before the District Council Committee on Human Services

2/11/2009 – Regarding the Adoption and Safe Families Amendment Act of 2009

12/12/2008 – Regarding Extending Adoption and Guardianship Subsidies until age 21, Expanding Guardianship Subsidies to non-kin, and providing Increased Post-Adoption Supports and Verification Requirements

12/12/2008 – Marilyn Egerton regarding Extending Adoption and Guardianship Subsidies until age 21, Expanding Guardianship Subsidies to non-kin, and providing Increased Post-Adoption Supports and Verification Requirements

4/12/2008 – Council of the District of Columbia Committee on Human Services Child and Family Services Agency Budget Hearing

2/21/2008 – Before the Human Services Committee of the Council of the District of Columbia Oversight Hearing, Child and Family Services Agency

1/15/2008 – At the District of Columbia Council Committee on Human Services Public Oversight Roundtable Hearing The Adequacy of the District’s Response in the Tragedy of the Jacks Children

11/8/2007 – At the Confirmation Hearing of Dr. Sharlynn Bobo before the DC Committee on Human Services

4/18/2007 – At the Child and Family Services Agency FY 08 Budget Hearing before the DC Committee on Human Services

2/15/2007 – At the Child and Family Services Agency Performance Oversight Hearing Committee on Human Services, Council of the District of Columbia