National Foster Care Month Bracelets

imageShow your support and increase community awareness for National Foster Care Month in May by wearing a blue wrist band.  NFPA will be selling wrist bands in lots of 50 for $37.50 for our members, and $50 for non-members. Shipping is FREE!

imageFoster care agencies and foster family groups are encouraged to distribute blue bands so that everyone will be aware of this important month of awareness.

Orders can be made on the NFPA website at www.nfpaonline.org/fcm.

The Beauty and Brokenness of Foster Care – Jason Johnson

It was a Wednesday. We received our first call from our foster care agency at 3:30 in the afternoon – a newborn baby girl had been taken into custody by Child Protective Services at the hospital and was in need of placement. “Are you interested?”, they asked. Of course.

By 7:30 that evening they were at our front door, holding a tragically fragile little girl who needed a home to live in and a family to love her.

It was the best and worst day of her life.

She was wholly unaware of all that had transpired in her short three days. Tragedy, abuse and brokenness brought her to our front door. Hope, love and healing welcomed her in. While we celebrated the opportunity to care for her we also ached over the reality that someone had put her in the position of needing to be cared for by us in the first place. It’s now our joy, over two years later, to call her our daughter and to hear her call us her Mommy and Daddy; it’s also our heartache that any of this ever had to happen in the first place.

EQUAL PARTS GOOD AND BAD

Everything…everything about foster care is equal parts good and bad, joy and sorrow, beauty and brokenness. It’s a good day when a child is placed in your home. It represents safety, security and an opportunity for a child to be loved and cared for in a way they likely would not have had available to them otherwise. It’s indeed a good day when a child is placed in your home – it’s also a really bad day. It’s a day marked by hurt and brokenness, that while so much gain has been made available to a child, it’s ultimately loss that has led them to that point. Generational cycles of brokenness within families have perpetuated themselves now into the lives of the next generation – abuse, neglect and abandonment have become a part of their stories. They didn’t ask for this, it was unjustly handed to them by those who were most responsible to protect them from the very things they’ve now been harmed by.

While the opportunity to love these kids is good, no doubt the circumstances that brought them to us are probably very, very bad. This is where the call to foster care begins, what it exposes us to and the perspective it demands we keep in order to rightly and lovingly care for vulnerable kids.

THEIR TRAGEDY OVER OUR EAGERNESS

As excited as we may be about fostering kids, they certainly aren’t excited about being foster kids. Our personal sense of excitement does not drive our efforts. Their personal tragedy does. Heartache does. A desire to see good come out of bad does. A willingness to embrace what is broken and do whatever it takes to bring healing does.

Celebrate the opportunity to open your homes to kids in need, knowing that if it be for just a few days or an entire lifetime, you’ve been given the unique opportunity to offer them something special – love. Yet at the same time, never let your excitement about being involved in foster care be separated from the heartache you feel over the tragic reality that something like foster care even has to exist in the first place.

There may be days that aren’t exciting. Quite frankly there will be days that aren’t exciting at all. They’ll actually be very, very hard. You will be forced on several occasions to step back and ask yourself an important and necessary question – “Why are we doing this?”. You may be in those days right now. You may even be asking yourself that very thing right now. It’s in moments like these that you must press more deeply into Jesus and your belief that the gospel is nothing if it’s not a demonstration of His ability to bring great beauty out of tragic brokenness. That’s why you’re doing this. This is why we do foster care. It has to be.

By Jason Johnson (http://jasonjohnsonblog.com/blog/the-beauty-and-brokenness-of-foster-care#.VxUkgfkrKUk=)

THE JOURNEY…a Guide and Journal for Foster Caregivers

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NFPA is proud to present our newest publication to benefit foster caregivers and the children they so diligently serve.  THE JOURNEY is designed to complement the paperwork already required by child protection programs.  We know that a mini-step for one child may be a giant leap for another.  It is important to jot down those “little things” that often are not captured in required paperwork since those “little things” are often the truer picture of who the child really is.  THE JOURNEY can be a lifesaver when going to court to help everyone better know and understand the child the way you know and understand the child. We hope THE JOURNEY will become an important part of our daily ritual because of the value it can bring to your ability to best raise the child(ren) placed into your family during the time they are with you.  THE JOURNEY includes articles and other information NFPA believes will be helpful to you as you learn and grow as a foster caregiver.

Contact NFPA on our website at www.nfpaonline.org to order your copy of THE JOURNEY now.  The price is $15 and that includes the postage to get your copy in the mail to you right away!

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Virtual Walk Me Home – May 21st

imageJoin the National Foster Parent Association in celebration of National Foster Care month by taking part in Walk Me Home…to the place I belong. There are many walks taking place across the US and we ask that you support the ones in your area. For those not near a Walk we are giving you the opportunity to support Walk Me Home by participating in a Virtual Walk on May 21th, 2016 in your own home town, park, running/walking trail…wherever you choose! This National Event for foster care and adoption is designed for anyone to be a part of.

We are asking each person who registers to create their own fundraising page and invite friends and relatives to donate to it. We are asking each person to set a goal of $100 for you page. As you register you will be giving the opportunity to create or join an existing team. Proceeds from this Virtual walk will go to support the National Foster Parent Association’s efforts to support and advocate for parents and children all across the US. A portion will also be used to support the National Foster Parent Association Scholarship Fund.

To register or simply donate without registering, go to http://www.firstgiving.com/walkmehome/nfpa2016. The cost of registration is $30, and includes a Walk Me Home tee shirt to commemorate this event.  Please register by May 1st, 2016 to insure you receive your t-shirt in plenty of time for the event.  If you require a shirt other than sizes offered youth s,m, or adult s,m,l,xl,xxl,  email sholman@nfpaonline.org with your size.

Walk Me Home…to the place I belong is the signature fund-raising and awareness event for foster care in America. We know not everyone can be a foster or adoptive parent, but Walk Me Home is a great way to support the over 400,000 children in foster care and the more than 100,000 children available for adoption.

Won’t you please join us in this first Annual National Event. Remember this is a Virtual Walk that you can do anytime anyplace. We are just setting the date of May 21th in hopes of drawing National attention and thus getting more awareness of the need for more foster and adoptive parents.

May Is National Foster Care Month

History of National Foster Care Month

Throughout its 100 year history, the Children’s Bureau has worked to assist children and youth in foster care; engage youth in decisions that affect their lives; and support foster families, kinship caregivers, child welfare professionals, and others who help these children.

  • Before the creation of the Children’s Bureau in 1912, child welfare and foster care were mainly in the hands of private and religious organizations.
  • In 1919, the Children’s Bureau published Minimum Standards of Child Welfare, which affirmed the importance of keeping children in their own homes whenever possible and, when that was impossible, providing a “home life” with foster families.
  • In 1923, the Children’s Bureau published Foster-Home Care for Dependent Children, an acknowledgment of the growing preference for foster family care over institutional care.
  • During World War II, when more than 8,000 children were evacuated from Europe to the United States, the Children’s Bureau oversaw their temporary placement in U.S. foster homes.
  • The Children’s Bureau published a draft list of “The Rights of Foster Parents” in the May 1970 issue of its journal Children. That same year, the Children’s Bureau sponsored the National Conference of Foster Parents.
  • In 1972, the Children’s Bureau sponsored—and President Nixon proclaimed—National Action for Foster Children Week to raise awareness of the needs of children in foster care and recruit more foster parents. The following year, Children published “The Bill of Rights for Foster Children.”
  • In 1988, President Reagan issued the first presidential proclamation that established May as National Foster Care Month.

To learn more about the history of the Children’s Bureau, visit the Bureau’s centennial website. There, you can access an e-book, The Children’s Bureau Legacy: Ensuring the Right to Childhood, which tells the story of how the Bureau took on some of the most devastating social problems of the time during its first 100 years, including high infant mortality, child labor, and child abuse and neglect. In the website’s featured video, “The Children’s Bureau, 1912–2012: A Passionate Commitment. A Legacy of Leadership“, Children’s Bureau leaders and staff speak about their commitment to the Bureau’s work and how that commitment translates into better outcomes for children, families, and communities. The video is also available in Spanish.

NFPA Convention: Reserve Your Room NOW!

This year, the 2016 National Foster Parent Association and National Kinship Alliance for Children Annual Convention will be held in sunny Las Vegas, NV at the Flamingo Hotel, June 22-25, 2016.

Rooms are available for special low-convention rate costs.  Reserve your room now, as the special rate is only available until May 27, 2016.

Attendees will enjoy up to 20 hours of training and fun, over three days.  Registration is NOW OPEN at http://www.nfpaonline.org/conv2016.

Registration costs are as follows:

Early Bird (before 5/15/2016):
$175 NFPA & NKC Members
$225 General registration
After 5/15/2016, registration will be
$200 NFPA & NKC Members
$250 General registration
Onsite registration will also be available to both NFPA members and Non-members at a rate of $250.

All NFPA Members are encouraged to sit in on our NFPA Council of State Affiliates Meeting and NFPA Board Meeting, on 6/20/16 and 6/21/16, respectively.

Please plan to join us for more than 50 educational sessions on a wide array of foster, adoptive, and kinship care topics.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Webinar: Post-Reunification Supports & Prevention of Reentry Into Out of Home Care

Save the Date: May 18, 2016

Webinar: National Foster Care Month: Post-Reunification Supports and Prevention of Reentry Into Out-of-Home Care

May is National Foster Care Month, a time to focus on enhancing the lives of children and youth in foster care. This year’s theme, “Honoring, Uniting, and Celebrating Families,” centers on reunification.

Please mark your calendars to join the Capacity Building Center for States and the Children’s Bureau on Wednesday, May 18, 2016, at 2–3:30 p.m. Eastern Time. This webinar will provide child welfare professionals with an overview of post-reunification and explore how these programs benefit parents and children and ultimately support reunification.

Please register here.  Additional information coming soon.

June Focuses on Reunification

June is National Reunification Month.  One  way to participate in the month is to nominate a Reunification Hero. The American Bar Association  interviews parents and professionals that are nominated, writes up their story and publicizes it through the Parent Attorney listserv, Reunification Month website, ABA Center on Children, and the Law social media outreach. The American Bar Association will be accepting nominations until May 20, 2016.

 To nominate a Hero, please visit the Reunification Month website:  http://www.americanbar.org/groups/child_law/what_we_do/projects/nrd.html