Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Workshop presenters needed for 2015 convention

Do you have a passion for training leaders? We need you!

NFPA is searching for workshop presenters for its 2015 convention taking place June 25-28 in Norfolk, Virginia. Topics are unlimited and can include social media; bylaws development; conflict management; Robert's Rules; effective communication when dealing with legislators/media; grant writing, etc. These sessions will be geared to our association leaders so they can effectively manage their state or local associations.

Have other child welfare related topics you'd like to present, such as family engagement, kinship care, adoption assistance, mental health or developmental services? We welcome you to submit those topics as well!

View the Call for Presenters information here. You will find a draft schedule, and information on 2015's theme and how workshops are scheduled. When you are ready to submit your information, please utilize our online Presenters' Application here. Deadline is November 10, 2014.

Need general information about the convention? Visit NFPA's 2015 convention page here.

See you in Norfolk!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Foster children are not for sale

Human trafficking is a real threat to society, and many of our foster children are at risk of being caught in the web. Every state agency should develop policies and procedures for identifying and determining appropriate services for foster youth who are believed to be at risk of becoming a victim of sex trafficking. The National Foster Parent Association has developed the following document to highlight components of Public Law 113-183, the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act, to help you understand the importance of this law.

PL 113-183 Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act Highlights

The bill has three titles:
  • Title I focuses on the provisions to help states identify, track and develop services for children who are believed to be in danger of being trafficked.
  • Title II includes a series of child welfare provisions related to improving the Adoption Incentives program and extending Family Connections Grants.
  • Title III improves the process for getting international child support by allowing tribal governments and authorized foreign agencies to access the Federal Parent Locator Services.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

NFPA seeking kinship care committee members

by Jan Wagner

The number of children living with kin is increasing across the country and, when abuse or neglect is involved, relatives are finding themselves connected with the foster care system. In some jurisdictions, relatives are being asked to be certified or licensed. Therefore, at its June 2014 board meeting, the National Foster Parent Association voted to make Kinship Care a full committee. NFPA wants kinship families to know that the vital role relatives have in the child welfare system is valued and supported.

If you are a member of NFPA and you are passionate about kinship care, please join the new NFPA Kinship Care Committee. Whether you are a kinship caregiver, a foster parent, an agency-based child welfare worker, a member of another advocacy organization, or whatever your role is -- there is a place for you on our committee.

This is an excellent opportunity for you to join us at the beginning of this initiative and help establish objectives for the future. For example, recommending and developing a special kinship care track at the NFPA 2015 national conference in Norfolk, Virginia, would be a great start. We need your leadership and membership to be successful. So please, let us know of your interest by sending me an email ASAP with the following information:

  • Your name
  • Your city and state
  • Your email address
  • If you are a kinship caregiver, an agency staff member working with relatives, or whatever your role may be
  • If you belong to a local or state foster/adoptive/kinship association (and which one)
  • What you would like to see NFPA accomplish on behalf of kinship care -- policies, practices, programs, resources, etc. 

We plan to convene a conference call meeting no later than the end of October so we can report to the NFPA Board of Directors at its mid-November meeting. If you have any questions or suggestions, please email me at wagnerjan(at)live(dot)com.

Everyone is welcomed and needed! Thanks!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Don't forget: Advocates for Families First Policy Agenda June 25

Advocates for Families First fifth webinar — Advocates for Families First Policy Agenda — will be held June 25 at 1 p.m. EST (10 a.m. PST; 11 a.m. MST; 12 p.m. CST).

Monday, June 2, 2014

What is it really like to be a foster parent?

We asked our Facebook community what it is really like to be a foster parent and wow, what great responses! Check out the post below.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Don't forget: Effective Legislative Advocacy Strategies May 29

Advocates for Families First is offering a series of free webinars designed for leaders of support groups and organizations that work with kinship, foster, and adoptive families. The fourth session will be Effective Legislative Advocacy Strategies May 29 at 1 p.m. EST (10 a.m. PST; 11 a.m. MST; 12 p.m. CST).

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Walk Me Home ... To The Place I Belong

by Corrie Lynne Player

Foster parents today are part of a great support system that keeps families together -- to love and nurture children while their biological parents have a chance to learn or be rehabilitated. If rehabilitation isn’t possible, foster parents either support the search for kinship care or adopt the children they love unconditionally.

Experts agree that if enough effective foster homes are found now, future needs for prisons and police will be reduced. More victimized children will be salvaged and turned to thriving, happy lives.

As a long-term foster/adopt parent and vice president of the National Foster Parent Association (NFPA)’s Region 8, I want everybody to know that fostering is a uniquely satisfying job, as are all jobs associated in any way with foster families.

I also want to invite you, my family, friends and colleagues to help raise awareness about the needs of foster children and the homes that help them not just survive awful situations but thrive.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Two upcoming webinars for support group leaders

Advocates for Families First is offering a series of free webinars designed for leaders of support groups and organizations that work with kinship, foster, and adoptive families. The fourth session will be Effective Legislative Advocacy Strategies May 29 at 1 p.m. EST (10 a.m. PST; 11 a.m. MST; 12 p.m. CST).

In this session, participants will be introduced to the successful Florida advocacy effort to create a more supportive and normative growing up experience for children and youth in foster care through passage of the “normalcy bill,” which allows for foster and kin caregivers to make prudent parental decisions about activities that their foster and kin children participate in, without having to seek the approval of the child welfare agency. Presenters will share:

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Thank you, foster parents!

By Irene Clements

Please join the National Foster Parent Association in celebrating National Foster Care Month by honoring the dedicated foster families across the country and celebrating the amazing children/youth who, through no fault of their own, are experiencing foster care services.

Children and youth who are placed into foster care are there due to significant abuse and neglect and cannot be safe in their own homes. Foster families step up to provide the love and healing these resilient children/youth need and deserve. Foster families and caseworkers, along with educators, therapists, CASAs, judges and others, work as a team to help families reunite when possible and when not possible, they help each child find permanency as soon as the child is ready. Every child deserves a forever family to rely on as they grow and mature.

Congratulations and thank you to foster parents who, according to one former foster youth, Rhonda Sciortino, provide "big-hearted, radical hospitality to each child they welcome into their family." Vera Fahlberg, a well-known child development expert and advocate stated: “Every child deserves an irrational advocate.”

Will you step up and consider becoming a member of this very honorable group of people -- foster parents? Look around in your home town or community and join in the celebrations. Perhaps next year, the celebration will be for you, too.

Irene is the president of the National Foster Parent Association.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

NFPA's blue bracelets are back!

State affiliates, we're offering you 50 FREE blue bracelets for National Foster Care Month! These bracelets were a huge hit for 2013 so we're bringing them back. Just email Rachel Mertz at to take advantage of this offer. If you would like more than 50, you must pay for additional bracelets in advance at the member rate of $37.50 per 50 bracelets ordered.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Survey on foster children and the use of prescription medication

Photo Credit: ckaiserca via photopin

Hello foster parents!
My name is Anna Yelick and I am a second year doctoral student in the College of Social Work at Florida State University. I am inviting you to participate in a brief study on foster parents’ views on the use of prescription medications as part of a care plan for children’s behavioral concerns. Participation in this study is completely voluntary. In addition, I will not have any way of knowing specifically who participates and who does not, therefore, you will remain anonymous.

I am interested in learning more about foster parents’ motivations for giving prescription medications to their foster children. While it is likely you do not have the right to make medical decisions for your foster child (as that right is retained with the biological parent or the agency/state), you as the foster parent are likely involved in the discussions regarding the decisions to medicate your foster child. In addition, there may be times when you, as the foster parent, would prefer not to give prescription medications to your foster child. Therefore, this scale examines when you would be or would not be likely to agree to give prescription medications to your foster child, if given the choice.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Free webinar for support group leaders

As part of an effort to build a strong support and advocacy community for foster, adoptive and kinship families, Advocates for Families First is offering a series of free webinars for leaders of organizations that serve this community.

The first webinar — Starting and Enhancing Support Groups for Adoptive, Foster, and Kinship Families — will be held on February 24 at 2 p.m. EST (11 a.m. PST, 12 p.m. MST, and 1 p.m. CST). The session is designed for those who are new to support group leadership as well as those seeking to infuse their group with new energy or hoping to take the next step in group development.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

We've got mail!

Hello Friends of Foster Parents, 
Back in the summer of 2005, our foster son was recognized in your magazine as the Gordon Evans Scholarship recipient of Oklahoma to Oklahoma State University. I would like to say "thank you" once again for helping this very deserving young man take an important step into the future that now waits before him as a hopeful promising career is on the horizon. 
Though Jacob took six years to complete his undergraduate (part of the residue of being a child separated from biological family and changed from many homes in the foster system until reaching our home), he finally achieved a biology degree that then led him to Argosy College in Minnesota where he studied ultrasound technology. This month he completes his internship at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and will be fully certified as a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer. We are proud of his accomplishments and of the future that is in store for him and his beautiful wife, Megan. 
Thank you "Gordan Evans" and NFPA for helping to encourage foster children/students all over America!

Rev. Marilyn Merle

Note: NFPA has also been informed that Jacob will be performing mission work this month before starting his full-time job. Way to go Jacob!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Nominate your peers for our NFPA awards!

We're looking for a few good people who have gone beyond the call of duty to improve the world of foster care. Do you know someone in your family, your neighborhood, your city or your state who deserves to be honored? Nominate them for an NFPA award!

Our 2014 award categories are:

NFPA Foster Family of the Year Award
The Foster Family of the Year Award recognizes a foster family that has gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure the safety, permanence and well-being for the children in their care.

NFPA State Association of the Year Award
The State Association of the Year Award recognizes an NFPA state affiliate that has provided extraordinary service and resources to the families it serves.

NFPA Local Association of the Year Award
The Local Association of the Year Award recognizes an NFPA local affiliate that has provided extraordinary service and resources to the families it serves.

NFPA Advocate of the Year Award
The Advocate of the Year Award recognizes a recipient (person or organization) who has made outstanding strides to advocate for foster parents and/or children in care.

NFPA Social Worker of the Year Award
The Social Worker of the Year Award recognizes an exceptional direct services worker in a public or private child-placing agency.

Gordon Evans Merit Award for Service to NFPA
The Gordon Evans Merit Award for Service to NFPA, selected by the Board of Directors, recognizes an NFPA board member for noteworthy service to NFPA.

The awards will be presented at the NFPA/FSFAPA National Conference June 5-8, 2014 in Orlando, Florida, and NFPA will waive conference fees for award winners to attend workshops and events. Find out more on our conference page or go directly to the award nominations page.

Deadline is March 28.

Monday, January 20, 2014

From our mailbag: University of Phoenix scholarship thanks

Take a peek at this great letter of thanks from our mailbag:
Hello President Clements,
I was  awarded a full tuition scholarship by the National Foster Parent Association in the spring of 2013. I am now in my third course of the Masters in Psychology program at the University of Phoenix. 
Please express to the leadership of NFPA my deep appreciation for this opportunity to pursue an advanced degree. It would not otherwise be possible for me to earn a graduate degree. It is my sincere hope that this NFPA scholarship program will continue for a very long time. There is no doubt in my mind that it is making some dreams come true. 
It is my hope to apply what I learn in my career and in my leadership role in the Vermont Foster and Adoptive Parent Association.
Dan Boyce
Vermont Foster & Adoptive Families Association
Board Member at Large

Thursday, January 16, 2014

2014 NFPA Youth Scholarship application now available!

The National Foster Parent Association (NFPA) Youth Scholarship Fund was established to benefit foster, adoptive and birth children of NFPA members. Up to five scholarships are awarded annually based on available funds.

Visit NFPA's Youth Scholarship page for more information. Deadline to apply is March 14, 2014.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Play It Forward: Win a free CedarWorks playset!

Every kid "just wants to have fun." Give your children in care a chance to have fun on a beautiful and sturdy playset by participating in the Play It Forward contest!

CedarWorks created the Play It Forward program to give back to those who go above and beyond each day to bring hope to the lives of young people. The company has teamed up with the National Foster Parent Association to provide lucky foster families across the United States with CedarWorks playsets.

Here's how to enter:

Help us identify media that portrays foster parents in a negative light

NFPA, along with North American Council on Adoptable Children and Generations United, is working on a grant to help state and local associations to better meet the needs of foster, adoptive and kinship caregivers. The grant will help us advocate for better laws, policies and practices, and help us improve the image of foster parents and foster care in general.

One of the components of the grant is to obtain an accurate picture of what people are producing, writing and filming in regard to foster care and foster parents. We need to identify television shows and/or movies that have portrayed foster parents/foster families in a negative perspective.

Taxes and foster/adoptive parenting

Josh Kroll, with the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC), recently shared this post with NFPA on Facebook:

I have had a few questions recently about taxes and foster/adoptive parenting.

1. Claiming children as dependents - foster parents as well as adoptive parents may be able to claim children as dependents. To claim the children you must meet all five tests - age, relationship (foster and adoptive parents are just fine), residency, support and joint filing tests.

The two big issues are support and residency. In 2005 the support test changed to the child can't provide more than half of their own support--foster care payments are not support provided by the child (and subsidy should be treated the same way). Residency is the other big issue, you have to have the child with you more than half the year (if the child was born or died during the year, then more than half of the year that they are alive).