RESOURCES FOR FOSTER PARENTS
Click the headers below to see more information about each topic. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Organizations You Should Get To Know
Children’s Law Center
Provides legal services to at-risk children and their families and using the knowledge they gain from representing individual clients to advocate for changes in the law and its implementation.
DC Child and Family Services Agency
The DC government agency responsible to protect children from abuse and neglect, preserve families through provision of services, and provide foster care and adoption services.
DC Metropolitan Foster/Adoptive Parents Association
Provides support, resources, and social opportunities for DC’s foster, adoptive and kinship parents.
Mobilizes churches to recruit and support foster and adoptive parents and support families to prevent children from entering foster care.
Family and Youth Initiative
The only DC-area organization focused exclusively on helping teenagers in foster care make lifelong connections with caring adults. FYI creates enriching lifetime relationships for youth at risk of aging out of foster care. FYI matches youth with host parents and mentors and helps them find adoptive families.
Georgia Avenue Family Support Collaborative (GAFSC)
Supports children, youth and families to become healthy, empowered and connected in a multi-cultural community. Their programs help families mostly in Ward 4 in D.C. by linking them to vital services such as mental health, substance abuse treatment, skill-building workshops and resources for their children, as well as basic needs such as food, clothing and emergency assistance. GAFSC’s Community Prevention and Training Program workshops feature parenting skills, drug and alcohol prevention for youth and Mental Health First Aid.
Works to promote the support and retention of parents and social service professionals. Its goal is to effectively and efficiently train and appreciate those connected to Kayla’s Village through strength- and performance-based interactions, which benefits children.
Post-Permanency Family Center (PPFC)
A community service (now housed in the same building as FAPAC), a program run by Family Works Together (through Adoptions Together) in partnership with CFSA. They provide comprehensive support, training and therapy for families who have achieved or are working towards the guardianship or adoption of DC children. Additional Information.
Other CFSA-Approved Training Programs
The below websites have been approved by CFSA’s Child Welfare Training Academy (CWTA). Upon completion of each online course, please print your certificate immediately and send them to your Resource Development Specialist or Licensing Specialist within 15 days of completion!! DC parents please remember, only 9 hours of online training is permissible within your 2-year in-service training cycle. If you are a Maryland foster parent of a DC child, please double check with your agency’s training/licensing staff to confirm their on-line training policy.
www.freestatesocialwork.com/dccfsa – Trauma Systems Therapy (TST) project is one tool CFSA is utilizing to fulfill our mission with children in foster care. CFSA supports foster parents as they work to make a difference in the lives of children in need. The TST program will benefit both our foster parents and our children as parents gain additional knowledge and enhance their parenting skills. This program will provide a better understanding of the children in your home and the trauma they have experienced as you continue to give your time, love and understanding. See below for log-in instructions.
https://dc.mandatedreporter.org/pages/Welcome.action – Free online DC mandated reporter training
www.fosterparents.com – One year membership: $24 (not reimbursable).
www.dshs.wa.gov/ca/fosterparents/training.asp – This training program is presented in this award-winning Web site from Washington State. Adapted from the SUNY Foster Parent Scope curriculum.
www.fosterparentstest.com/store/index.htm – A wonderful selection of online courses for resource parents covering topics from high needs babies to a range of disorders and challenges. Note that there is a non-reimbursable associated cost for each course.
www.fosterparentcollege.com – Offers self-paced training accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. From the comfort and safety of home, parents can enroll, complete a course, and receive a certificate of completion in a single session. FPC has conducted more than 80,000 online training sessions since 2004. De- signed by nationally recognized experts in the fields of parenting, pediatrics, psychology, psychiatry, and education, FPC courses are valued by foster care agencies and praised by caregivers. Many of our classes are also available on DVD at our websitewww.SocialLearning.com.
How to Advocate For Yourself As a Foster Parent
Sometimes you may need to advocate for a service or in regards to another need that you feel should be met. Here are some quick tips to help you along. Remember, you can always feel free to call or email us for support!
- When seeking information or services, write down the name of everyone you talk to. Remember that “CFSA said” is not a reliable way to track a response, as agency workers represent multiple perspectives. This is especially critical if someone has promised OR denied you a service.
- Check out CFSA’s on-line policy manual. The easiest way to access it is to put “Policy Manual” in the search bar on CFSA’s website so you will have access to accurate policies. They may be hard to digest, but at least you will know where they are. Some relevant policies are also posted on FAPAC’s website.
- Remember that everyone has a supervisor and understand that you have right to use the agency chain of command if you need help. Please call FAPAC if you believe that working your chain of command will put you in any risk.
- When needed, use the services of the CFSA Ombudsman’s Office. The current Ombudsman is Marianna Abraham 202- 727-2111
- Keep yourself informed -read the things you get from your agency and FAPAC in the mail or by email; and attend meetings, trainings and support groups.
- FAPAC believes that Shared Parenting, when appropriate, can be a strong advocacy tool. Just think about the strength in recommendations if both you AND the birth parents are recommending the same thing!
- Keep your license up to date; if we want foster parents to be taken seriously, then we have to take care of our own business.
- Contact FAPAC with advocacy issues that you encounter.
Advocating in Court: Why is it important for YOU to go to court?
FAPAC often hears from foster parents that you want to be more involved in team decisions about the child(ren) in your homes. However, we hear from representatives at the Family Court that the attendance of foster parents at hearings does not reflect the interest we hear about becoming more involved. Every child in D.C. foster care has a case called an “abuse and neglect case” in Family Court in D.C. Superior Court. Hearings usually happen every three or four months for a child in foster care. Sometimes they happen more often and sometimes less, but they must happen at least once every six months. Although you are not required to attend hearings unless specifically requested by the judge, we are writing this to strongly encourage you to go for the opportunity to share information and find out what is going on in the child’s legal case. You should get notices directly from CFSA about the dates of the hearings for the children in your home. If a child has just been placed, you may not yet have received notification so ask the child’s worker or GAL when the next hearing is.
In the District of Columbia, the Adoption and Safe Families Act requires the court to give foster parents an “opportunity to be heard” in court proceedings about a child currently in their home. That means that as a foster parent, you have a right to tell a judge during a hearing about a child’s behaviors, daily routines, day-to-day health, educational needs, visitation schedule with a biological parent, services a child is receiving, any additional services the child may need, and anything else you think the judge should know about the child. Providing this information to the judge will help the Court decide what is in the best interests of the child. Please note that you do not have to get permission from the agency to attend as it is your legal right.Please also be aware that the “opportunity to be heard” does not mean “opportunity to hear all” and you may be asked to leave when confidential information is being shared unless the birth parents agree to your staying. If you obtain “party status,” you will have the right to stay for the whole hearing and to receive official reports. For more information about becoming a party, feel free to contact FAPAC at 202-269-9441 or email@example.com or to call the Children’s Law Center helpline at 202-467-4900 extension #3.
A few final pointers:
- We advise parents to dress for court in appropriate business attire.
- D.C. Superior Court is located at 500 Indiana Avenue, NW. All abuse and neglect case courtrooms are on the first floor or the JM level of the court house. The judges have assigned courtrooms. There is an information desk near the main entrance of the court house – ask there for the judge’s court room number.
- Sometimes the security lines at court can take a long time. Be sure to build in extra time – at least 15 minutes – to get through security so you are not late for the hearing.
- Parking can be a challenge. You may want to consider other transportation options.
- Please call FAPAC to let us know if you are not getting notices of court hearings.
Foster Parents in Court
- DC Foster Home Regulations
- FAQ: Closing and Reopening Your Resource Home [PDF]
- FAQ: Closure of Kinship Foster Homes [PDF]
- FAQ: Renewing Your CFSA Resource Home License [PDF]
- Fair Hearing Information
- Family Link Shared Parenting initiative
- Immigration Status of Clients [PDF]
- Important Facts for Resource Parents [PDF]
- Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Support of Immigrants [PDF]
- Office of Youth Empowerment (OYE) / Programs and Services for Older Youth
- Pharmacy Flyer [PDF]
- Tip Sheet for Immigrant Families with Children [PDF]