The Clarke, Frederick, Winchester City DSS Foster Care Training and Recruitment Program which is known as Foster Families of CFW came into existence in 1996. CFW is a cooperative and collaborative effort among the three jurisdictions to provide a consistent, competency based training program to all prospective as well as approved foster, adoptive, and resource families.
Although each jurisdiction is unique, there are many commonalities such as sharing resource families as well as the same resources, included but not limited to the same doctors, therapists, and mental health counselors. In terms of structure, CFW falls under the Frederick County Department of Social Services but program mission, program content, and policy and procedures are determined and implemented by all three jurisdictions in a collaborative fashion.
Clarke, Frederick and Winchester Departments of Social Services are committed to working with birth and resource families as well as the community to provide a safe, nurturing environment for our foster children. The number one goal for our agencies as dictated by the Virginia Administrative Code as well as the policy and practice of Foster Families of CFW is to assist birth families with the issues and concerns that bring children into the foster care system. The initial goal when children enter foster care is to work towards reunification with birth parents. If reunification cannot be achieved with birth parents we then seek placement with extended biological family members. If this is not possible we work to seek permanency for children through adoption. Resource families are a critical part of the team in each of these goals.
Our resource families provide a safe environment for children while their parents work towards reunification with their children. Resource parents can be a role model to birth families as difficult issues arise. The interaction between birth families and foster families has changed through the years. Current practice is that resource families are expected to work together as a member of the team. Becoming a resource parent can be an extremely rewarding and challenging endeavor.
The required Mutual Family Assessment (formerly know as the home study) is designed to provide training in significant areas of becoming a resource parent as well as a way for the agency and the resource family to assess their ability to become resource parents. Although a difficult decision, some participants in the pre-service training may not meet the standards described by the Provider Regulations and may not be approved as resource parents. However, for those who are approved and accept the challenge there is probably nothing that you do that will have a greater impact in the life of a child, family, community, and the world.
The world can be changed one child, one family at a time. It is only by working together as a team that we are able to achieve a better outcome for the children and families we serve.