Policies on Engaging Foster Parents & Youth as Partners

Engaging Foster Parents & Youth as Partners    graphic

Alaska Resource Family Advisory Board

The Alaska Resource Family Advisory Board (RFAB) is a collaboration between the State of Alaska Office of Children’s Services (OCS) and the Alaska Center for Resource Families (ACRF). The mission of the RFAB is to provide education, understanding and guidance to resource families and OCS for the benefit of all through open and continuing communication with OCS workers and administration to create a better environment for all children. The RFAB is led jointly by a foster parent and a representative of OCS. The RFAB developed the Resource Family Bill of Rights in cooperation with OCS. Finalized in 2018, the bill of rights is provided to all foster parents and social workers and covers 13 key areas and is intended to be a useful tool for families and provide clarification on day-to-day questions.

See the playbook for more information.

Quality Parenting Initiative/Florida Partnership Plan

The Quality Parenting Initiative (QPI) is a statewide approach to strengthening foster care in Florida, and in numerous other jurisdictions. Launched in Florida in 2008, QPI focuses on implementing policies and practices that support excellent parenting for all children in the child welfare system. One important policy related to ensuring excellent parenting is Florida’s partnership plan, which is being implemented across the state as part of regular case practice. The partnership plan is a signed statement that articulates a shared understanding between caregivers and agency staff of the goals and responsibilities they each have to ensure excellent parenting for each child in foster care. The partnership plan is a clear framework to guide a strong working partnership between caregivers and agency staff on behalf of the child’s well-being. Among other things, the partnership plan emphasizes the importance of information sharing and inclusion of foster parents in team meetings and court hearings.

See the playbook for more information.

Illinois Foster Parent Law and Statewide Foster Care Advisory Council

In 1995, Illinois enacted Public Act 89-19, which ensures that foster parents have a role in decision-making both in individual cases and in statewide policy development. The Foster Parent Law consists of extensive legislative findings regarding the essential role of foster parents, as well as a list of foster parents’ rights and responsibilities. The Statewide Foster Care Advisory Council Law created a 22-member council consisting of foster parents, foster care professionals, the president of the Illinois Foster and Adoptive Parent Association and four non-DCFS foster care experts to advise and make recommendations regarding foster care law and policy. In addition, the council is tasked with reviewing, approving and monitoring the implementation plans required by the Foster Parent Law. The council scores each plan based on a set of criteria developed by the council and conducts on-site agency reviews to determine adherence to the rights and responsibilities enumerated in the Foster Parent Law. In addition to the statewide council, each DCFS region has its own council.

See here for more details.

Illinois' Children’s Home and Aid Foster Parent Mentors

Children’s Home and Aid is one of the largest statewide private providers of child welfare services in Illinois. The foster parent mentoring program was begun in March 2017, after a series of focus groups across the state revealed that foster parents were supporting one another informally but sometimes exchanging inaccurate information about state policy and procedure. The mentoring program was started to formalize such support and ensure that foster parents were receiving up-to-date information.

See the playbook for more information.

Office of Parent and Caregiver Support

Illinois DCFS Office of Parent and Caregiver Support employs 40 Foster Parent Support Specialists statewide to serve DCFS and private agency foster homes. The goals of the program are to retain foster parents, promote family reunification, stabilize foster placements and facilitate youth development.

See Illinois' diligent recruitment plan for more information.