First, we want to extend our deepest thanks to all the families who are deep in the trenches, doing a good job throughout COVID-19, and still are motivated to keep going!
The resource specialists in Foster Care and Adoption Resource and Support continue to reach out to our foster families on an ongoing basis to check in with all of you. We want to see how you are doing with the challenges you are experiencing due to the COVID realities like virtual schooling. We also want to find out what we can do to support you during these challenging times.
We placed calls to foster families early on during the pandemic, and then also sent out a survey. We heard from about 20% of our foster families, and we were pleased to learn that despite some disappointments, you mostly feel supported by FC&A staff. Thank you for sharing this feedback:
- Families generally have reported satisfaction with the support of their resource specialists. Families shared that this position has provided an outlet for them, as RSs call to offer assistance and follow up with supporting needs the family has outside of the placement.
- Families feel they can openly communicate with their RS when issues are tough. Families stated that they feel free to discuss issues with their RS that they don't feel as comfortable saying to the foster care specialist or when the family is present.
- In response to some families and staff who expressed confusion over the resource specialist’s role, this summer FC&A clarified the framework for the position. This has been shared with all CYF staff, and we will revisit any feedback for improvement in specific intervals.
- Families have expressed a desire for additional compensation to offset the extra work required during COVID. Unfortunately, when our agency applied for a grant to increase the funds for all resource families with placements, we did not receive it. We continue to pursue other options.
- Some families expressed a desire for a safe space to talk about their challenges. Don’t go it alone! We want to hear from you in order to help address needs such as respite, child care payments (even for those who are teleworking), training, or food insecurity.
- Families expressed satisfaction with the COVID-19 visitation policies. Staff has worked to make sure that if families of origin are not following the rules, adjustments are made to address and make the situation as safe as possible. Contact us if you have questions.
Please reach out to us if you have additional comments or concerns about the work that is being done We would like to hear from all voices. Please take a moment and respond to our short survey.
We also asked our staff for suggestions as to how the community can support foster families at this time, and there were lots of ideas that our supervisors are now exploring. We will keep you posted on any new opportunities and supports that we are able to develop.
As we move into the winter months, home visits and other meetings will increasingly be taking place indoors. In alignment with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, FC&A staff will be wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. According to a recent CDC statement, masks offer protection to the wearer as well as preventing individuals from spreading the virus to others. As a safety precaution for everyone, we are asking foster parents to also wear masks when foster care specialists and resource workers come to the home.
As always, there are some resource families with no placements at this time. We understand that everyone’s situation is different, but if you have the capacity, we could use the additional support at this time. Due to the pandemic, we have a pressing need for more foster parents for children ages 11-17, children with special needs, and sibling groups of three or more.
Please consider opening your home and heart right now or if you are not able, consider reaching out if you have friends and colleagues who could provide a temporary foster home for a child. The next virtual info meeting is Monday, Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. They could email Dr. Patricia Cubillos at BeAFosterParent@fairfaxcounty.gov to register for a virtual meeting. The deadline to register is noon on the day of the meeting.
This article posting is part of the Foster Family News monthly newsletter designed to keep foster parents informed about all the new and notable happenings in Fairfax County.
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