Follow along with NewFound Families as we work to support families. In this news column we seek to provide current information about the admininistration of the child welfare system. Become part of our community and join us on Facebook.
At NewFound Families Virginia, we believe every child deserves a loving, nurturing home. Since April is Autism Awareness Month, we felt it prudent to shed some light on how you can make a difference in the life of a child with special needs.
Special needs adoptions include children who qualify for adoption assistance due to specific factors or conditions such as:
- Medical conditions (such as autism)
- Physical, mental, or emotional disabilities
- Being an older child
- Having a particular racial or ethnic background
- Being part of a sibling group needing to be placed together as one unit
In a response to a meeting held with families from across the state regarding the need for oversight of local department practices in some areas of the state, we received this response from the leadership of Virginia Department of Social Services.
The Commissioner and I had an opportunity to chat about the request and where we are with our system improvements. We are working diligently to implement sustainable practice changes to improve our child welfare practice throughout the Commonwealth. The Practice Profiles have been developed and are being rolled-out and operationalized in our 120 local departments. While we are rolling these out, we are also partnering with Rutgers University to evaluate the Profiles and the implementation process. While the results are not final, we are finding significant child welfare outcome improvements from those agencies who were early adopters of the Profiles.
The first Permanency Advisory Committee meeting of 2018 was held on March 15th. Representatives from VDSS shared updates on several legislative and policy issues, and shared information about upcoming state and regional events. Representatives from local DSS offices shared input and creative problem-solving ideas, as well as areas where they are needing more guidance from the state.
One of the first conversations was related to the struggle across the state to enable children to achieve permanency post-TPR. Several localities noted a recent increase in lengthy appeals, and extended waits for rulings from circuit court judges. A desire was expressed that some way could be found to educate judges on the impact these delays has on the emotional well-being of a waiting child. It was also noted that some localities do not have a dedicated-adoption worker, and thus it takes longer to process adoption paperwork in some situations.
PAC Meeting Blog
written by Jaoni Wood and Lisa Mathey, NewFound Families Representatives
On December 13th, the Permanency Advisory Committee (PAC) met in Charlottesville to discuss several agenda items intended to improve Virginia’s child welfare system. Jaoni Wood and Lisa Mathey were there to share input from the family perspective.
Hi! This is Cate Hawks, your Executive Director. I am pleased to be representing all of you at the National Foster Parent Association (NFPA) meetings this week. I serve on the State Council of Affiliates representing Virginia and I am a member of the NFPA Board of Directors, as well. We have had some great coversations these past two days. I want to share with you a few really cool things for you to consider and to let you know about something we are working on for you and your families.
NORMALCY, by Brenda Sayers Wilkins
In Sept. 2014, our federal government passed a bill cited as the "Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act". Within this act, subtitle B, is "Improving Opportunities for Children in Foster Care and Supporting Permanency". This fairly recent act supports a "reasonable and prudent parent standard" for children in foster care, group homes or residential settings. Prudent Parenting allows these children the right to participate in extracurricular, enrichment, cultural and social activities, with careful and sensible parental decisions based on health, safety and best interest of the child.