In the very beginning, there were two foster families who decided to take action. They were Sue and Bernie Dondiego, Middlesex County, and Hattie Talley, Burlington County.
Their goal was to bring the voice of foster and adoptive families to the government leaders who made decisions regarding the lives of foster families and children in foster care. "We wanted an organization that would support foster and adoptive parents, advocate for their needs and the needs of children in their care, and provide training conferences, which would give them an opportunity to share experiences and acquire the skills needed to care for the children placed in their homes,” said Sue Dondiego, who now serves on FAFS' Advisory Council.
Founded in 1972 and incorporated in 1974, Foster and Adoptive Family Services is the leading statewide advocacy agency for foster and adoptive parents. FAFS plays an integral part in the development, training and support of New Jersey's resource parents (foster, adoptive and kinship).
The New Jersey legislature mandates that the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) remove children who are unsafe in their homes. Reasons for removal include a lack of parental supervision, abuse, neglect, emotional problems, and a parent's inability to care for a medically fragile child, among others.
Resource parents provide the care and support needed at a critical time in the lives of these children.
FAFS is governed by a dedicated volunteer Board of Directors and is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation. FAFS has resource parent volunteer leadership in every county through our Volunteer Committees and Morris County Affiliate. FAFS has a committed staff and also has the support and guidance of our Advisory Council.
Our mission is to provide support, training and advocacy to meet the special needs of foster, adoptive and kinship families, who provide safe, stable and nurturing homes for children in foster care.
Our specific objectives and purposes are:
To promote an enhanced understanding of foster care and serve as a catalyst for positive advances in the foster care system.
To provide services, support and training opportunities for foster, adoptive and kinship families, and others having the responsibility for and/or the interest in the well-being of children. This may include members of the community.
To develop and distribute educational, training and other resource materials to private charities, government agencies and others interested in the well-being of children. FAFS' dedicated volunteers and professional staff work relentlessly as frontline advocates to serve foster and adoptive families in an objective and empathetic manner. We strive for excellence, and we build trusting relationships with all those we serve.
Toll-Free Hotline (Monday - Friday: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm)
Community Based Support
FAFS' hours of operation are Monday - Friday: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
FAFS' dedicated volunteers and professional staff work relentlessly as frontline advocates serving resource parents in an objective and empathetic manner. We strive for excellence, and we build trusting relationships with all those we serve.
FAFS helps resource parents by providing support services and training. All of FAFS' services are free to licensed resource parents in New Jersey and those in the process of becoming licensed. All information provided to FAFS is confidential. To access any of FAFS' services, call 1.800.222.0047.
FAFS also manages the New Jersey Foster Care Scholars Program (NJFC Scholars), funded by the federal government, which assists current and former foster youth in their pursuit of a higher education. Some adopted youth may also be eligible to receive awards. Each application is processed on a case-by-case basis.
Private contributions have allowed FAFS to organize an annual statewide Holiday Gift Drive to benefit children in foster care. Gifts are distributed to children with the assistance of our Volunteer Committees and Affiliates. FAFS also supports our Fostering Wishes for Children Program, Camp Scholarships, and private scholarships for both independent living and academic pursuits.
FAFS also helps resource parents by providing information through our publications, including Resource Parent Fact Sheets, and our newsletter, Connections.