Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Attention federal employees and active military members!

We need your help!

If you are a federal employee or an active military member, please donate to the National Foster Parent Association through the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), which is conducted as a payroll deduction program for charitable giving. You may also make a one-time or recurring payment via Give Direct, which charges your credit card once or on a recurring monthly basis as you choose. 

Please help the National Foster Parent Association to continue to support foster, adoptive and kinship families nationally through education and advocacy programs!

Our CFC number is: CFC #11817.  

Thank you for your support! 

Friday, November 1, 2013

November is National Adoption Month

by Irene Clements

Raising public awareness of the over 100,000 children living in foster care who are waiting for their very own permanent family is top priority during National Adoption Month. Of course, time is also taken to celebrate and honor those families who adopt children from the foster care system. Special thanks from the National Foster Parent Association to all the foster parents who also choose to adopt the children in their homes or other children from the foster care system.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Need input from foster parents on sex trafficking and re-homing

Dear NFPA Board and Council of State Affiliates members and NFPA members,

NFPA (and our State Affiliates) have been asked by the staff of the Human Resources Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee in Washington, DC, to provide information on two very important topics: sex trafficking of youth in foster care and re-homing. The Committees is and will continue to address each of the following topics and wants input from foster parents and child advocates on both.  Please send your comments to me at iclements@NFPAonline.org as I have agreed to gather the comments and provide them to the Committee staff.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

NFPA president to appear on 'Foster Talk with Dr. John'

NFPA's president Irene Clements has the honor of being the first guest on the new Foster Talk with Dr. John, America's only radio program dedicated to foster care.

"NFPA is happy to support John in his efforts to bring awareness to foster care issues," said Irene. "He was at a Texas conference this past weekend and did a wonderful job for our attendees, and I look forward to spending some time with him Monday on the show."

Listen in on Monday, October 21 at 8 p.m. EST as Irene and Dr. John DeGarmo discuss NFPA and the latest issues in foster care.

You can also call in to speak with Dr. John during the show at 347.996.3187.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

From our mailbag: Sincere thanks for scholarship

Good news from our mailbag:

On behalf of my adopted daughter, I wanted to send our sincere thanks for the $500 scholarship from the National Foster Parent Association. I don't know if [she] has thanked you properly, so I wanted to make sure I sent this (belated) thank you. I apologize if she has never sent you a thank-you note. [She] is putting her $500 scholarship toward college expenses; she is now a full-time college student at Humboldt State University. 
Again, please accept our sincere gratitude for [her] scholarship. Thank you so much. Take care.

Warmest wishes,
Tamara G.

It's always great to hear from our scholarship recipients (and their parents)!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Triggers -- Understanding from a Foster Child's Perspective Part 3

By John Ross
Reprinted with permission

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, John relayed how triggers develop. Now he gives us suggestions on how we can be more understanding as foster parents.

"Knowing what is played back in their head for each trigger, helps a great deal..."

This happens to some kids when they go home for supervised or unsupervised visits. That’s where the abuse took place for some of them. So, it stands to reason their behavior would be poorly when they return to our homes. Why would anyone expect every child to come back acting wonderfully pleasant? Bio doesn’t have to always do something to upset the child. The place for some is a trigger in of itself. I hear foster parents complain a lot about how horrible the kids behave after they return from visits with bio. For some kids, I expect it.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Triggers -- Understanding from a Foster Child's Perspective Part 2

Credit: Graphic Nature Stickers

By John Ross
Reprinted with permission

In Part 1 of this series, John recounted how opening oatmeal triggered a 50-years-old memory for him, and how memories affect how children in care behave. 

The fact that just smelling the oatmeal produced an immediate memory, so sudden, had it been a bad memory, it more than likely would have hit me like a ghost suddenly appearing in front of me and yelling BOO! I more than likely would have had a negative reaction and would probably not have made oatmeal. In fact, I may decide to never eat oatmeal again. I may have a negative reaction every time oatmeal is served and instead of being able to verbalize why the sight of oatmeal bothers me, my behavior may display it, and if no one connects the oatmeal to my behavior, then my behavior may appear to be occasional willful disruptions at meal time. Since the trigger brought a memory of abuse so quickly, a child may react in sudden fright, heart pounding, they may jump, scream or run away because the memory was way too sudden for them. I have seen this happen to kids in my care many times. I have seen this happen to kids at school, many times. I have seen this happen to kids in department stores, playgrounds, you name it. You can see it in their face, their reactions, and their behavior.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Triggers -- Understanding from a Child's Perspective Part 1

Credit: Marty Figley

By John Ross
Reprinted with permission 

Have you ever smelled something and it brought back memories from your childhood? I opened a container of raw oatmeal and for some reason decided to smell it, and there was an instant memory from my childhood of me eating raw oatmeal. The memory was vivid, the taste of the raw oatmeal was fresh in my mouth; I even saw myself in the memory, reaching in the box and getting a handful and putting it in my mouth and eating it. This would have been over 50 years ago for me. The thing that caught my attention the most was; how “instantly” the memory came. It was very abrupt, without warning, it was just there, playing in full and very detailed. And all I did was smell the raw oatmeal.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

2013 NFPA Conference -- Day 6 -- Closing Session

Congratulations to all of our conference award winners! Lunch was fantastic and our awardees are a great group of people (look for the full listing and more photos upcoming in our NFPA News).

Well, our 43rd Annual National Foster Parent Association conference is coming to a close. We hope that you have enjoyed meeting up with old friends and gaining new ones, while enjoying the wealth of information provided by our workshop presenters and keynote speakers.

On our agenda today:

Registration Open
8 – 9 a.m.

Exhibits Open
8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Morning Coffee

Closing Session
Facilitator: Christine James-Brown, President and CEO, Child Welfare League of America Presenters: Irene Clements, President, NFPA; Eileen Mayers Prasztor, Professor, School of Social Work, California State University; David Sharp, Public Policy Chair, NFPA; and Rhonda Sciortino, Christian Speaker/Author
9 a.m. – Noon

Have a safe trip back home!

Friday, June 7, 2013

2013 NFPA Conference -- Day 5

If you missed yesterday's luncheon, you missed something great! Not only did we have the pleasure of hearing Philip Browning speak about his vision for Los Angeles County's Department of Children and Family Services -- and his brief role as a kinship caregiver -- but we also witnessed foster parents having fun with the surfer/beach bum contest -- for the kids of course.

Today a very important meeting -- our General Membership Meeting -- will take place. We need to hear from you, our foster parents, on on how we can serve YOUR needs. Thank you for the great feedback you've given us so far in individual meetings over the last few days!

On our agenda today:

Thursday, June 6, 2013

2013 NFPA Conference -- Day 4

Judge Thomas "Britt" Hammond was awesome yesterday! He had us grooving to music while encouraging foster parents to keep at it -- because a child's life depends on it.

Conference attendees, please stop by the Message in a Bottle display to write a quick note -- funds from each bottle "purchase" will go toward NFPA's Youth Scholarship Fund. Here are a few that we have already:

Our board has also been having a little fun while working hard ... public policy chair David Sharp will surely appreciate this message in a bottle:

Well, today we find out who's the best-dressed beach dude or dudette during lunch. Don't forget to check out the photos later!

On our agenda today:

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

2013 NFPA Conference -- Day 3 -- Opening Session!

Today is Day 3 -- the Opening Session!

Be sure to participate in NFPA's Beachy Scavenger Hunt. Hidden in the exhibit hall among the exhibits are several beach-themed items. Use the flyer in your conference bag and locate all the items, and obtain the signature of the exhibitor where the item was found. Don't forget to return your paper to the scavenger hunt table. One lucky winner will win a free conference registration to the 2014 NFPA conference in Orlando, Florida!

Our agenda for today:

Registration Open
8 a.m.  6:30 p.m.

Exhibits Open
8 a.m.  6 p.m.

Morning Coffee and First-Time Attendees Meeting
88:45 a.m.

Opening Session
Keynote Speaker: The Honorable Thomas B. “Britt” Hammond
910:15 a.m.

Session A Workshops
10:30 a.m.  12 p.m.

Regional Vice Presidents Meeting
1:30  3 p.m.

Council of the Local Affiliates Meeting
1:30  3 p.m.

Session B Workshops
1:30  4:30 p.m.

Meet and Greet
 6 p.m.

Please wear your best surfer/beach bum wear tomorrow (Thursday)! We will have lifeguards looking around during our luncheon to spot the best and most enthusiastic beachgoer.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

2013 NFPA Conference -- Day 2

We're here for Day 2 of the 43rd Annual Education Conference in Long Beach!

Yesterday's meetings were productive. Special guest Joe Kroll, of the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC), joined us to discuss a possible collaboration among NFPA, NACAC and Generations United. We're excited about the possibility of working with these great partners!

NFPA secretary Heather Hosmer, NFPA president Irene Clements and NACAC executive director Joe Kroll

On our agenda for today:

Council of State Affiliates Meeting
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

2 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Exhibit Setup
3 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Get ready to have a "beachy" time tomorrow!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Good morning, Long Beach!

The National Foster Parent Association is waking up to a great day in Long Beach for the 43rd Annual Education Conference.

On our agenda for today:

NFPA Board of Directors Meeting
9 a.m. -- Noon

Joint NFPA Board of Directors and Council of State Affiliates Meeting
1:30 -- 5 p.m.

Conference starts Wednesday, June 5!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Pizza night at your house? Consider setting aside an extra $10 for the youth!

What is the cost of one large pizza or one meal at a fast food restaurant? $10? 

And what does one large pizza or one meal from a fast food restaurant have to do with youth scholarships?

If everyone reading this would be willing to contribute the cost of just one large pizza or one meal from a fast food restaurant, the National Foster Parent Association could offer at least some of our youth the opportunity to pursue a higher education, which in turn could lead to a better job and a productive future.

2013 NFPA Election Results

Please view the 2013 NFPA Board of Director election results below.

Heather Hosmer

Vice President
Pat Llewellyn

Regional Vice Presidents
Region 1: Doris Marshall (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont)
Region 3: Randy Smith (District of Columbia, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia)
Region 5: Janice Hilleary (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin)
Region 7: Pamela Allen (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska)
Region 9: Ronald L. Clanton (Arizona, California, Nevada, Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, and Wake Island)

A big thank you to all of you that cast your votes for the 2013 NFPA Election.

A note regarding our 2013 conference hotel

For June 2, the contracted rooms at Renaissance Long Beach have all been reserved. Since many guests may want to stay that evening, NFPA has checked all the downtown Long Beach hotels for availability. Please consider one of the following hotels:

Thursday, March 21, 2013

From our mailbag: University of Phoenix Scholarship Recipient

Another great day for a letter from our mailbag:

I wanted to let you know that I have completed my degree on March 4. I was so excited to have the opportunity to accomplish the dream I have always had! I finished with a GPA of 3.93 which is not too shabby. I actually completed my education early (I was supposed to finish next October) but doubled my classes for several months to complete it earlier. I have begun my mission of finding the right job for my degree now. I figured that God placed this opportunity in my hands and I know that He has an ultimate plan for me with this education.  
My degree is in Human Services with an emphasis in management. I am hoping that I will eventually make an impact in many children's lives besides the ones we have made in our home. I want to thank you, once again, for the incredible gift the National Foster Parent Association has given me. Without this, my dream would never have come true. It has changed my life! 

Foster parents, the University of Phoenix has once again offered this great opportunity for our members. Visit NFPA's University of Phoenix page to learn more about how you can earn a full scholarship!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Show your support for National Foster Care Month

Blue Ribbon Showcase

The National Foster Parent Association (NFPA) is a proud supporter of National Foster Care Month. And you should be too! 

Start now to develop creative ideas to promote National Foster Care Month this May. You can tie blue ribbons around a tree, on your mailbox, in a door wreath or any other place it will be noticed.

Take a photo of your showcase and send it in. NFPA will display your works of art on this blog, Facebook and Twitter feeds and you could enter the showcase to win $100! 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

NFPA offers advance orders of blue bracelets

State affiliates, we're offering you 50 FREE blue bracelets for National Foster Care Month! Just email Sarah Schafer at sschafer@nfpaonline.org by March 20 to take advantage of this offer. If you'd like more than 50, you must pay for additional bracelets in advance at the member rate of $37.50 per 50 bracelets ordered.

Local affiliates and agency members, you can order the bracelets at our member rate of $37.50 per 50 bracelets ordered. If you are a state or local foster parent association or agency and would like to order bracelets, the non-member rate is $50 per 50 bracelets ordered.

All orders must be sent by March 20 to Sarah at sschafer@nfpaonline.org and include your name, address to which bracelets are to be sent, and a credit card number with expiration date. Bracelets will feature "Foster parents make a difference" and "NFPA."

As advocates for caregivers, it's never too early to start planning for National Foster Care Month so don't miss this great opportunity. Get your orders in by March 20!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Why doesn't the press cover foster care?

by David Sharp

There is always rhetoric in the press about so many things, for now it is guns!! I wish the children living in our nation's foster care system could get this kind of press. There are no "sides" to take and no big disagreement on how to fix the problem ... no, this issue's only enemy is awareness. If all these pro- and anti-guns folks were asked if we should help innocent and helpless orphans and abused children, they would all say "yes."

However, this issue is not interesting enough to the press because most people believe they are unaffected by it.

Ben Franklin once said, "For change to occur the unaffected must be as outraged as the affected." That statement is true as demonstrated by most of the comments we've seen lately.

Scholarships available for 2013 SAIGE Native Youth Program

The Society of American Indian Government Employees (SAIGE), a national non-profit organization that advocates for American Indian and Alaska Native Government employees, is hosting its annual Native Youth Program. This program is designed to provide Native American students an opportunity to learn about careers within the federal government, to participate in professional and personal development workshops and leadership training, and to network with Native American professionals.

The Native Youth Program will be held during SAIGE's 10th annual National Training Program, Guiding Our Destiny with Heritage and Traditions, June 3-7, 2013 in Spokane, Washington, at the Northern Quest Resort & Casino, owned by the Kalispel Tribe.

SAIGE is offering a limited number of scholarships for Native students to attend the 2013 Training Conference June 3-7, 2013 in Spokane, Washington. The scholarships will include conference fee, airfare, hotel accommodations and meals. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

From our mailbag: 2013 Horatio Alger Recipient

It's a win-win for our members and supporters to stay connected to us through this blog and social media.

"We are pleased to announce to you the 2013 Horatio Alger National and State Scholarship recipients! Just wanted to also share with you that we ask the scholarship recipients to indicate how they heard about the scholarship programs and this year we had one recipient who indicated she heard about the scholarship through the National Foster Parent Association. She is a Delaware Scholar." 
Lindsay Paul
Educational Programs Coordinator
Horatio Alger Association

There are a few more scholarships available for students in Idaho, Louisiana, Montana and Tennessee (deadline April 15). Visit the Horatio Alger website for more information.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Foster care education reform signed into law

by David Sharp

The National Foster Parent Association (NFPA) joined in a letter of support for the A Plus Act, also referred to as the Uninterrupted Scholars Act (S. 3472 and H.R. 5871). The legislation amends the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to enable child welfare agencies to access the educational records of children in foster care to help improve their educational success. The agency may disclose the records to other parties with a court order.

FERPA, originally created to protect the confidentiality of education records, has been a barrier to child welfare agencies, as well as foster parents even when educational agencies are willing to collaborate in the exchange of information. Bipartisan sponsors in the Senate are Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Al Franken (D-MN). The House lead sponsors are Reps. Karen Bass (D-CA), Jim McDermott (D-WA), and Michelle Bachmann (R-MN).

This bill was passed by Congress on January 1, 2013, but was not enacted before the end of its Congressional session, however was signed into law by President Obama this week! While this bill will be a big WIN for children and their agencies, it does fall short of giving the most important stakeholders, i.e., foster parents, access to their dependent children's school records.

NFPA will continue to work with congress to amend this bill to include all stakeholders in a child's life.

David Sharp is the Public Policy chair for NFPA.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Thursday, January 10, 2013

FAPAs around the web

We've rounded up a few foster and adoptive parent associations (FAPAs) from around the web. The list is in no particular order but please feel free to submit your own FAPA website or Facebook page to editor@nfpaonline.org for future inclusion in the list.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

NFPA releases Privacy of Foster Parent Information position statement

by David H. Sharp

Every day we read of privacy violations, identity theft, and other incidences of our personal data and information being released into the wrong hands. Be it the hacking of computer systems jeopardizing our finances, or other types of identity theft, the problem is real, serious, and a concern for many Americans.

This reality is even a greater threat for many resource (foster, kinship, adoptive) parents throughout many parts of our country. Sadly it is not uncommon to see the files of these parents left open on desktops where they are easily accessible to the public. Conversations regarding these files are often overheard in elevators and restrooms amongst caseworkers and child welfare professionals.

Resource parents are required to disclose large amounts of personal, financial, and family data and information to receive licensing and approval to help with our nation's children trapped in the child welfare system. Sadly their privacy can be violated and compromised if procedures are not in place to protect them.

Below is a suggested privacy statement from the National Foster Parent Association (NFPA) addressing this critical issue. Please consider adopting this policy or creating similar protections throughout your organization. The linchpin to providing services to America's displaced children is an active and involved core of resource parents. Your assistance in strengthening the ability of these individuals to provide necessary services is crucial.

Thank you for your time and efforts on behalf of children and resource parents.

123.12 - Privacy of Foster Parent of Information

Whereas foster parent's information contained within any state agency is personal and private and whereas such information should remain confidential from all persons except those persons authorized to obtain such information.

Whereas such information includes but is not limited to social security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, income and financial information, health insurance, drivers license, marriage and divorce history, information gleaned from pre-service training classes.

Whereas foster parents have a detrimental reliance on appropriate safeguards being set in place to protect such information with regard to agency policy and procedures.

Therefore be it resolved; the National Foster Parent Association encourages all foster parent licensing agencies to establish clear policies which safeguard electronic, written and oral transmission of foster parent information within their respective states and beyond. Further we ask for the agency to set in place policy that limits who can view and access such information supported by requisite training programs for employees regarding the importance of protecting the privacy of foster parent’s records. Be it further resolved that foster parents have a right to examine any and all information in their respective files upon request.

David Sharp is the Public Policy chair for NFPA. You may also find this and other Position Statements on NFPA's website.