Kinship Adoption Profile

When you lose your mother to cancer and are then removed from your father’s care to another state, it can threaten to eliminate all hopes and dreams for a successful future. This is the beginning of the story, but not the end for one of FAFS’ private scholarship winners.

kinship adoption profileWhile children usually celebrate the ending of school year and prepare for summer days filled with fun, she had to say goodbye to her mother. She recalls holding on to her mom and taking in every memory she could of the delicate flower that was soon to pass away. It is no surprise that, when her mother passed, she felt a piece of herself disappeared.

That Sunday she went to church with her father, but she did not leave with him. The Department of Human Services came to take her and her two brothers away. It was then she knew her life was never going to be the same. She waited to finally go home to her father; that day never came. The question that rang most in her mind was “Why me?” In her mind, foster care was only for abused children. She had just lost her mother and then began to realize her father didn’t have the strength to hold up himself or his children. Continue reading

Why the Chafee Education and Training Voucher Program Matters

Chafee Education and Training ProgramWhen it comes to financially supporting foster youth in their goal for a college education or job training, the Chafee Education and Training Voucher Program (ETV) is paramount.

Named after the late Sen. John Chafee (R-RI), the ETV was enacted in 2001 as part of the re-authorization of the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Act. The goal was to support former foster youth as they strive to become independent adults. Continue reading

Homeless Youth in College Receive Assistance in NJ

Homeless Youth in College Cite Textbook Costs and Hunger as Threats to Earning a Degree

As announced in a previous edition of homeless youth in collegeNews From The Heart, Foster and Adoptive Family Services (FAFS) received a generous grant from the Dreams R Us Foundation in December 2013. Portions of these funds were dedicated to ease the burden on homeless youth in college in New Jersey. Certain statistics indicate that the numbers of homeless or transitionally housed youth has risen by over 50% in several years. Some governmental programs help pay for fees and tuition for homeless youth in college but do not provide finances for requisite textbooks or other educational requirements. Of course, like most things, the price of books has continued to rise over time.

“Textbooks are hefty bills that amount to a knot in my stomach and an injury to my savings, instead of incredibly interesting and useful resources,” explained one applicant to the Breaking the Housing/Textbook Barrier Initiative. Once the student’s application was approved, FAFS and the Dreams R Us Foundation received a note saying, “My textbooks are no longer reminders of the financial sacrifices I make to stay afloat in college. I see them as sources of expertise, a way to broaden my interpretation of the world, and what my future career opportunities can be.” Continue reading

Homeless College Students Get a Helping Hand

homeless college studentsIncreased Awareness Of Challenges Faced By Homeless College Students Leads To Action

When many of us think of college, we may envision a Saturday football game, grueling examinations, a sunny day on the green or perhaps graduation. Have you ever thought about attending college and being homeless? Unfortunately, today this problem is more prevalent than you may have ever imagined. Continue reading

New Jersey Foster Care Scholars Celebrate Anniversary

Ten years, one decade, 3,650 days of service is a great reason for celebration. Recently, Foster and Adoptive Family Services (FAFS), The Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) and the New Jersey Foster Care (NJFC) Scholars Program held a celebration at The Professional Center in New Brunswick, commemorating the tenth anniversary of the NJFC Scholars Program. Over that period, hundreds of young men and women in foster, adoptive and kinship care were able to attend colleges, universities and trade schools with the assistance of this special program.

State Officials Turn Out To Celebrate New Jersey Foster Care Scholars

NJFC Scholars Tenth AnniversaryIn attendance were Allison Blake, PhD, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF); Mary Jane Awrachow, CEO of FAFS; Tara Rizzolo, FAFS Director of Scholarship Programs; Kara Wood, Director of the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency; Fran Gervasi, FAFS Director of Education and Training; graduates, current scholars and various guests. The event theme was “Red Carpet – Starring the Scholars.”   Continue reading