Category Archives: Uncategorized

Fostering Media Connections Acquires Two Award-Winning Magazines



January 10, 2017

Holden Slattery, FMC

Fostering Media Connections Acquires Two Award-Winning Magazines

Los Angeles, CA, January 10, 2017 – National journalism non-profit Fostering Media Connections (FMC) has acquired two national, award-winning magazines: Fostering Families Today and Adoption Today. The acquisition ensures the titles’ future and furthers FMC’s commitment to become the pre-eminent source of news in the child welfare community.

Fostering Families Today and Adoption Today are resources for foster and adoptive parents, and government agencies nationwide. Fostering Families Today won the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Adoption Excellence Award in 2014 and was the National Association of Social Work’s Media Award Winner in 2012.

Heimpel, an award-winning child welfare reporter, founded FMC in 2010, in response to tight newsroom budgets that left many of these important, narrative-changing stories untold. Today FMC has placed thousands of stories on vulnerable children in the news media, including its own news site, The Chronicle of Social Change.

“As FMC grows into its role as the leading source of news for vulnerable children and their families, we look forward to building on the strengths of Fostering Families Today and Adoption Today,” Heimpel said. “Through an infusion of solution-based journalism and national context we will use the magazines as a vehicle to equip adoptive and foster families with the knowledge they need to better care for the children in their lives.”

Dick Fischer founded Adoption Today in 1998, after adopting two girls from China. He then recognized that foster families had similar needs and launched Fostering Families Today. He died on November 24 at age 70. In choosing FMC, Fischer sought a publisher that would grow the two publications.

“It is a blessing that Fostering Media Connections is going to continue to share Dick’s legacy, by transitioning the magazines,” said Annie Fischer, who managed the magazines’ operations with her longtime husband, Dick. “I am very grateful for Daniel’s vision to make sure that children are able to find their forever families and that families are able to use Adoption Today and Fostering Families Today as a guide to build and support children and families.”

The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is providing a $20,000 grant for FMC to use toward sustainability planning related to the acquisition of the two magazines.
“The innovative work that the team at Fostering Media Connections has accomplished to deeply engage the media in the often-neglected conversation of foster care and foster care adoption is critical,” said Rita Soronen, president of The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. “Positive change for our children and youth can only happen when there is an informed examination and discussion about the systems in which they must survive.”

For information on Fostering Media Connections, visit For inquiries about the acquisition, contact FMC Distribution and Engagement Manager Holden Slattery using the contact information listed above.

NFPA Youth Scholarships for Students

NFPA Youth Scholarship for Continuing Education Students


NFPA proudly announces that it will be awarding a scholarship to a student who is continuing their college or technical school enrollment beyond the first year. In addition to providing scholarships for graduating seniors/GED students to include:
–2 foster youth scholarships
–1 adopted youth scholarship
–1 birth youth scholarship

The scholarship application period will begin in mid-January for the 2017-2018 school year. Please check our website, for qualifications and application materials.

NFPA Youth Scholarship for Continuing Education Students

NFPA Youth Scholarship for Continuing Education Students


NFPA proudly announces that it will be awarding a scholarship to a student who is continuing their college or technical school enrollment beyond the first year. The scholarship application period will begin in mid-January for the 2017-2018 school year. Please check our website, for qualifications and application materials.


Sexual Behaviors in Children


Sexual behaviors in children range from normal and developmentally appropriate to abusive and violent. While earlier studies 1,2 have suggested a strong correlation between sexual abuse and sexual behavior problems in children, more recent studies 3,4 have broadened this perspective, recognizing a number of additional stressors, family characteristics, and environmental factors that are associated with intrusive and frequent sexual behaviors. Clinicians must first distinguish age-appropriate and normal sexual behaviors from behaviors that are developmentally inappropriate and/or abusive (sexual behavior problems). The information below identifies when children’s behaviors are normal, less common and require assessment of situational factors, uncommon and require assessment of situational factors and family characteristics, and rarely normal and therefore indicate a referral to child protective services. This table was adapted from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) clinical report, “Evaluation of Sexual Behaviors in Children” and should not be used in isolation to determine if a child has been sexually abused. For more information on evaluation of child sexual abuse, review the AAP policy statement, “The Evaluation of Sexual Abuse in Children”.
Examples of Sexual Behaviors in Children Aged 2 Through 6 Years
Normal, common behaviors

•Touching/masturbating genitals in public/private
• Viewing/touching peer or new sibling genitals
• Showing genitals to peers
• Standing/sitting too close
• Tries to view peer/adult nudity
• Behaviors are transient, few, and distractible

Less common normal behaviors (a)

• Rubbing body against others
• Trying to insert tongue in mouth while kissing
• Touching peer/adult genitals
• Crude mimic of movements associated with sexual acts
• Sexual behaviors that are occasionally, but persistently, disruptive to others
• Behaviors are transient and moderately responsive to distraction

Uncommon behaviors in normal children (b)

• Asking peer/adult to engage in specific sexual act(s)
• Inserting objects into genitals
• Explicit imitation of intercourse
• Touching animal genitals
• Sexual behaviors that are frequently disruptive to others
• Behaviors are persistent and resistant to parental distraction

Rarely normal (c)

• Any sexual behaviors involving children who are 4 or more years apart
• A variety of sexual behaviors displayed on a daily basis
• Sexual behavior that results in emotional distress or physical pain
• Sexual behaviors associated with other physically aggressive behavior
• Sexual behaviors that involve coercion
• Behaviors are persistent and child becomes angry if distracted
(a) Assessment of situational factors (eg, family nudity, day care, new sibling) contributing to behavior recommended (b) Assessment of situational factors, family characteristics (eg, violence, abuse, neglect) recommended (c) Assessment of all family and environmental factors and report to child protective services recommended.

1. Gale J, Thompson RJ, Moran T, Sack WH. Sexual abuse in young children: its clinical presentation and characteristic patterns. Child Abuse Negl. 1988;12:163–170
2. Friedrich WN. The clinical use of the child sexual behavior inventory: frequently asked questions. APSAC Advisor.1995;8:1–20
3. Friedrich WN, Fisher JL, Dittner CA, et al. Child sexual behavior inventory: normative, psychiatric, and sexual abuse comparisons. Child Maltreat. 2001;6:37–49
4. Silovsky JF, Niec L. Characteristics of young children with sexual behavior problems: a pilot study. Child Maltreat. 2002;7:187–197

Child Welfare Information Gateway-Updates November 2016

Child Welfare Information Gateway E-lert! November 2016


Encourage your colleagues to subscribe to E-lert!

To ensure you receive E-lert! each month, please add us to your safe senders list.

Here’s what’s new from Child Welfare Information Gateway. Use the links below or contact us to request print copies. If print copies are available, we will ship them to you for free.

Raise Awareness for National Adoption Month 2016


This year, National Adoption Month focuses on the importance of identifying permanent families for thousands of 15–18 year olds in foster care who are currently less likely to be adopted, often because of their age, and who all too often age out of the system without a stable place to call home.

The 2016 National Adoption Month website provides information and resources to help professionals with Developing and Supporting Families for older youth and Involving and Empowering Older Youth. This year, a new downloadable tip sheet, “Talking With Older Youth About Adoption,” was developed to support professionals in starting or re-engaging older youth in conversations about adoption.
Additionally, resources for families include, Preparing to Adopt and Finding Support After Adoption.

Finally, the Watch and Listen section offers sharable videos and podcasts featuring adoption stories of older youth in foster care.

Be sure to visit the 2016 National Adoption Month website and take the survey today! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and join the conversation using #AdoptionMonth, #NAM2016, and #JustAskUs.

NEW Podcast: Washington, D.C., and the Local Child Welfare Professional


How does the Federal Government stay connected to the needs and issues of the frontlines of child welfare? How is the field changing its approach to protecting children and strengthening families?

Find out the answers to these questions and more in our new podcast, “Washington, D.C., and the Local Child Welfare Professional,” featuring a conversation with Rafael López, who was nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate in 2015 as the Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Commissioner López’s experience spans the local, State, and Federal levels of child welfare. Visit the podcast landing page for more information on this podcast and related resources.

Looking for more podcasts? Visit our growing collection on the Children’s Bureau website.

New & Updated Publications

Court Hearings for the Permanent Placement of Children
This factsheet summarizes State laws that mandate the type and frequency of court hearings that must be held to review the status of children placed in out-of-home care. At these hearings, the court reviews the efforts that have been made to address the family issues that necessitated the out-of-home placement as well as efforts to achieve permanency for the child. This document also lists the persons who may attend the hearings and permanency options.

Definitions of Human Trafficking
This factsheet presents State criminal laws that define human trafficking, including involuntary servitude, forced labor and services, and sex trafficking of minors. Federal definitions of human trafficking and the inclusion of trafficking in civil child abuse definitions also are discussed. Summaries of laws for all States and U.S. territories are included.

Determining the Best Interests of the Child
This factsheet discusses State laws that present the factors that courts need to consider when making decisions about a child’s appropriate custody and care. Factors to be considered include parental capacity to provide adequate care, sibling and other family relationships, and the child’s wishes. The factsheet also addresses the definition of best interests and guiding principles of best interest determinations. Summaries of laws for all States and U.S. territories are included.

Understanding Child Welfare and the Courts
Families involved with the child welfare system must often engage with the judicial system. This factsheet is designed to demystify the legal process and inform families of their rights and responsibilities. It includes frequently asked questions about the different stages of court proceedings, how parents and family members can prepare for court hearings, and who and what to expect in the courtroom and throughout the process.



This ebook resource highlights key principles to consider and provides practical tools, real-life models and implementable “next steps” for you and your leadership team in your faith based community.


1. Building a Culture of Discipleship

2. Reinforcing the “Everyone Can Do Something” Message

3. Moving from the Peripherals to the Core

4. Developing a Holistic Ministry Culture

5. Charting a Clear Path of Ministry



Subscribe to Jason Johnson’s Blog at


NFPA received permission from Jason Johnson to copy and publish this material from his website in The Scoop and The Informer.

Talking With Teachers About Trauma: Do’s And Dont’s

Talking With Teachers About Trauma: Do’s And Dont’s
It’s time to head back to school! For many foster and adoptive families, this means educating our children’s teachers about the impact of trauma.
Shannon Hicks September 04, 2016


It’s that time of year again: shiny pencils, yellow buses, endless paperwork, and new shoes. It’s time to head back to school! For many foster and adoptive families, this means educating our children’s teachers about the impact of trauma. Here are a few tips to make those conversations productive and positive:
DO be proactive.
Of course, you want to let teachers know ahead of time if you anticipate that your child’s trauma will affect them in the classroom. The beginning of the school year is a very busy time, so consider briefly mentioning this when you meet a teacher and then following up with an email. You could say something like, “My child had a difficult start in life and may react differently to certain situations than you would expect. Would it be okay if I shoot you an e-mail with some resources that I think might be helpful?” Follow up with links to some resources to support trauma-informed teaching. I like this list by the Trauma Informed Care Project and this Child Trauma Toolkit.
DO be positive.
After repeated negative experiences in the classroom, it can be easy to assume that your child will struggle. As a teacher, I truly believe that the number one factor in whether or not a child feels successful in school is the quality of their relationship with their teacher(s). A great teacher can make a huge difference in helping students feel safe to take risks and reach their potential. And there are lots of great teachers out there. Try to face the new year and the new teacher positively even if your child has had negative experiences with teachers in the past.
DO involve your child as appropriate.
When they’re young, we have little choice but to be our children’s voice to their teachers. In most cases, as they approach upper elementary school and beyond, it’s important to gradually hand off this responsibility. This doesn’t mean that you never speak to teachers on your child’s behalf. It does mean that you talk to your children about this. Consider asking for their input on what and how you share with their teachers. I always tell my daughter that as long as she is polite, she never has to share any part of her adoption story with anyone unless she feels comfortable doing this. I even tell her that she can blame me (“My mom said I don’t have to answer that question.”)
DO appreciate.
Lots of children who have experienced trauma display challenging behaviors at some point during the school year. Often there are school staff members (maybe your child’s classroom teacher, maybe someone else) who go out of their way to try to understand these behaviors and connect with our children. A positive relationship with one of these people can mean the difference between a child feeling angry and feeling heard, feeling misunderstood and feeling accepted. These folks are the heroes of the educational system (and they are out there—I know some of them personally). Go out of your way to appreciate them.
DON’T patronize.
Teachers are professionals. Many have advanced degrees and do extensive research to meet the unique educational needs of their students. They may also feel underpaid and underappreciated. Be a good advocate for your child, but don’t be a know-it-all. Open the lines of communication between home and school. And assume that teachers will go out of their way to do their job.
DON’T overshare.
There is a difference between sharing information and resources about the impact of trauma on children and sharing your child’s story. Before you contact your child’s teacher, spend some time thinking about this difference. There may be some situations where it is appropriate (even necessary) to share parts of your child’s story. I think those situations are few and far between. I know different parents have different ideas about this, but I always want to err on the side of protecting my kids’ privacy. It is their story, and unless it is truly necessary, it’s not my job to share it with other people (this is another time when communication with your child can be really helpful . . . not sure what they would want you to share? Ask them.).
DON’T stress too much.
This is probably the hardest tip to follow. But it’s important too. Our children feed off of our emotional energy and if we are overly anxious about them starting school, it signals to them that they should be anxious too. Educate. Communicate. Advocate. And then sit back and take a deep breath. It will be okay.

Support NFPA this holiday season with AmazonSmile


The holidays are approaching and you will be busy shopping for gifts, decorations, and more. NFPA would like to remind you to shop at highlighting the National Foster Parent Association, Inc. as your charity of choice so that  we can increase our AmazonSmile donations.


#StartWithaSmile at for your holiday gifts and Amazon will donate to the National Foster Parent Association, Inc..

NCTSN-The Invisible Suitcase: What It Is and Why Does It Matter?


The Invisible Suitcase: What It Is and Why Does It Matter?

Children in foster care can exhibit challenging behavior that’s difficult to manage at times. Many of the children who come into foster care bring with them a history of experiencing trauma. But did you know that they also bring beliefs about themselves, caregivers, and the world, as a result of the trauma they have experienced? In part one of the Invisible Suitcase two-part interactive lessons, you will learn about the beliefs that children often bring into their foster homes and how these beliefs are connected to their challenging, and at times puzzling, behavior. The narrator, Henry, will walk you through how a child’s experiences help form their beliefs, and in turn, how these beliefs are connected to the way they behave.

The second part of the Online Module Invisible Suitcase is scheduled to be posted after Thanksgiving.


Heart of a Foster Mother


You might not be able to tell what this is on this cool crisp fall morning at 7:15am. I would like to know how many days and how many of these big yellow buses I have watched come down the road. How many different kiddo’s have stood by my side ready for a new day and so much life to look forward to.
By my side today stood a sweet 4 year old holding a dead weed. She said as she held it out to me, this is for love. This made me think about the close to 300 others gone before. Where are they? Are they on a dark road watching their own munchkins step on a big yellow bus? Are they happy, do they remember?
It won’t be long until this time will be over for Steve and I. I know many of you don’t believe me (especially my family) but we will retire from foster care. In January it will be 32 years!!! Who knew that this young couple (so many years ago) so excited to be “called” by GOD, would still be making this trek down a dark country road so many years later….Watching one more head off to school. Safe…loved…sometimes for the first time in their lives.
I watched this same little one on top of Papa’s shoulders headed for the big yellow bus yesterday. So many others on those big shoulders… Another place another time another child… still echoes in my mind!
I guess I’m just too sentimental! I know my kids would say I am. Steve is positive I am, but for right now I’m just thankful. Even with all of our faults and so many failures he chose us!!!! Easy? Not on your life! Heartbreaking? More than anyone will ever know. Rewarding? Yes!
This is my prayer today… “Lord I pray for every abused hurting child. Somewhere today let them see you. Let one more person dedicate their life to healing these children by sharing their home, their time, their love; their lives. Father, You said in your word if we have done it unto the least of these we’ve done it unto you! Raise them up Lord! The workers are so few!!! God, let them know you are not looking for perfect, but a willing heart.”


Lana Freeman and her family live in Oklahoma. Lana is currently the Secretary of the National Foster Parent Association. Your donation to NFPA will help provide advocacy, educational activities, supports and services to the thousands of foster families across the country. Giving Tuesday is the perfect time to show your support –