Foster and Adoptive Family Services
Meet FAFS Family Advocates

Our Family Advocates provide support to licensed resource parents in NJ; foster, adoptive & kinship families; as well as foster, adoptive & kinship parent applicants.

Meet the Family Advocate for your county:

AtlanticBergenBurlingtonCamdenCape MayCumberlandEssex
GloucesterHudsonHunterdonMercerMiddlesexMonmouthMorris
OceanPassaicSalemSomersetSussexUnionWarren

Meet Ashley Chiappano, Support Services Manager

Ashley Chiappano

Ashley Chiappano
609.520.1500 x332

As the Support Services Manager, my goal is to provide the FFAs with daily guidance in dealing with the ever changing needs of foster, adoptive and kinship families.

My main goal is to empower, encourage and engage families through the everyday challenges of foster parenting.





I was a licensed resource parents from November of 2009- 2013. I've fostered 5 children and adopted 2 little girls. As a previous foster parent and now adoptive mother, I can provide support from both a resource parent and professional perspective. As an individual, I was always able to communicate and advocate for myself when needed. When I became a foster parent, I found that I was doing that for myself and the children I cared for more and more. I realized that being able to communicate effectively on behalf of others was something I wanted to do for other foster families. I actually sent an email to FAFS asking for help with the creation of a "Foster Parent Bill of Rights." When I was presented with the opportunity to be an FAFS Family Advocate, I was THRILLED!

As a former FFA, my passion continues to lie in assisting families regarding the challenging and rewarding experiences when caring with children in foster care.One of my favorite experiences as a FAFS Family Advocate was when I reached out to a newly licensed resource parent about a year ago. She had been trying to have a child for 14 years with no success, so many of our conversations were based on her overwhelming desire to be a mother and the frustration she felt while waiting "her turn." When my local DCP&P (formerly DYFS) office was looking for a foster parent for a "hard to place" child, I let them know that the family was available. The child, a little boy, was placed with her the Friday before Mother's Day, and she were ecstatic! The boy had tremendous behavioral needs that she managed with love, attention and fierce determination. But after a short time, the boy was returned to his biological family, and she was devastated. I often spoke about this family to the adoption staff and how much they are committed to being adoptive parents. She has now been placed with a pre-adoptive sibling group of three who are now legally free for adoption, and she is committing to being their forever family!

When I'm helping my families, first and foremost, I try to listen. I was once told, "You have 2 ears and one mouth, so listen twice as much as you talk." But foster, adoptive and kinship families, they are often being told what to do, where to be and how things will go. They are usually not asked if they are doing okay. As their FAFS Family Advocate, I try to encourage them to speak up for themselves, advocate for the children they care for and make changes when needed. My main goal is to empower, encourage and engage families through the everyday challenges of foster parenting.

If you're a foster, adoptive or kinship parent in need of support or assistance, contact me today or reach out to me in our Members group at FAFS' Online Support Network. Sign up. Already have an account? Log In.

Meet Elias Jones, FAFS Family Advocate (Essex, Morris, Monmouth, Ocean, Passaic, Sussex)

Elias Jones

Elias Jones
609.520.1500 x305

As a FAFS Family Advocate I work with foster, adoptive and kinship families and give them hope and understanding..

I am here to provide support and help create an uplifting and empowering environment.





I became an FFA after working with three siblings who were malnourished and neglected. I had heard of instances like this before, but this was the first time I had chance to make a difference. Understanding my responsibility towards the children, I was able to get them into a foster parent’s home where they received appropriate medical care. Now healthy, the three children are thriving and have been adopted by their foster family. Witnessing this transformation firsthand inspired me to continue the mission of helping children in foster care.

When working with foster children, I’ve asked myself the same question many of you did: “What can I do to help?” I can provide support by helping parents understand and utilize the information from DCP&P policy to handle any issues or address any concerns they may have as well as answer any and all questions. I understand the amount of information that foster, adoptive and kinship parents will encounter, and will help navigate through any concerns as well as provide access to all community resources. I can also help them understand the child in their care.

Helping children and families is my life’s work. I have a background working with children and adults with intellectual disabilities, co-occurring disorders and mental health issues. I understand the importance of assessing the needs of a child who is in foster care. I am here to provide support and help create an uplifting and empowering environment.

If you're a foster, adoptive or kinship parent in Essex, Passaic, Morris, Monmouth, Ocean or Sussex County New Jersey who needs support or assistance, contact me today or reach out to me in our Interracial Fostering or Adopting group at FAFS' Online Support Network. Sign up. Already have an account? Log In.

Meet Sameerah Lewis-Diaab, FAFS Family Advocate (Bergen, Burlington, Hudson, Middlesex, Union )

Sameerah Lewis-Diabb

Sameerah Lewis-Diabb
609.520.1500 x303

I've been a foster parent for nearly 10 years now. I've fostered 10 children and adopted 1. I have been assisting people from all walks of life every since I can remember; to get paid for it is a wonderful reward.

I provide that listening ear when there is an issue that may be of no importance to someone else, but is vital to foster, adoptive and kinship parents!

As a FAFS Family Advocate I am able to provide a sense of confidence and empowerment to foster, adoptive and kinship parents by supplying them with the appropriate information from DCP&P policy/procedure to handle whatever their issues and/or concerns may be. I have the willingness to research services that are not immediately available in order to help parents help the children in their care as much as possible. I provide a sense of security because they are able to vent and/or share information that they would not choose to share or would not know how to express to DCP&P. Having the ability to calm the waters before the storm when a foster parent calls in upset and not knowing where or who to turn to is advantageous. Most importantly, I provide that listening ear when there is an issue that may be of no importance to someone else, but is vital to foster, adoptive and kinship parents!

My work in helping children and families is most rewarding. I was asked to join a Family Team Meeting of two teenage siblings who were seriously acting out (not bathing, cutting school, not cleaning, fighting, leaving without permission). The foster parent had requested their removal. During the meeting I observed the two sisters who were coming into their own young womanhood were struggling with not being with their biological mother. I listened with extreme care to get a heartbeat on why these young women were acting out. At the conclusion of the meeting, I assisted in composing household rules for the girls as follows: Prepare for school the night before, (do homework and get school clothes out), help with household chores, do not throw food in the garbage, no lying, bathe and shower daily, set alarm at a comfortable time approx. 6am, no cutting classes, no fighting each other, come straight home from school, and always contact their foster mom for permission to go anywhere! The girls signed the rules that day, and today, the younger of the siblings is under KLG (kinship legal guardianship) with the foster parent, and the older sibling is now living independently. I am proud to help retain foster homes so we have more safe havens for our children.

If you're a foster, adoptive or kinship parent in Union, Bergen, Burlington, Hudson or Middlesex County New Jersey in need of support or assistance, contact me today or or reach out to me in our Teens group at FAFS' Online Support Network. Sign up. Already have an account? Log In.

Meet Corissa Gesicki, FAFS Family Advocate (Atlantic, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Salem, Somerset, Warren)

Corissa Gesicki

Corissa
609.520.1500 x344

As a FAFS Family Advocate, I will assist foster, adoptive and kinship families in obtaining the best information and resources available in order to help empower them as parents.

I can navigate and obtain resources and information that will assist families and let them know they are never alone in supporting and providing for children in foster, adoptive or kinship care.

Previously, I worked as a Family Service Specialist Worker for DCP&P (formerly known as DYFS). I understand the struggles foster, adoptive and kinship families face. It was at DC&P during an investigation I had to remove an 11-year-old boy and his 6-year-old sister. This was the first time these children were placed in foster care. They were frightened. When en-route to their foster home, the boy asked me a question that stays with me to this day: “So who will love us now?”

This question made me realize that no matter what happens to children in foster, adoptive or kinship care their main concerns will always be who? Who will care for them? Who will love them? Who will connect with them? Answering those questions is the purpose of all foster, adoptive and kinship families. I can navigate and obtain resources and information that will assist families and let them know they are never alone in supporting and providing for children in foster, adoptive or kinship care. It is our responsibility as adults in this state to show our children in foster care that they are not forgotten. They are important. They all have something to contribute to this world.

If you're a foster, adoptive or kinship parent in Atlantic, Camden, Cape May, Gloucester, Salem, Cumberland, Mercer, Hunterdon, Somerset or Warren County New Jersey who needs support or assistance, contact me today or reach out to me in our LGBTQIA group at FAFS' Online Support Network. Sign up. Already have an account? Log In.

FAFS Family Advocates aid resource families in various ways including the following:

  • Advocate on your behalf with CP&P (formerly DYFS) and Office of Licensing
  • Answer questions and prepare correspondence or documentation
  • Attend CP&P (formerly DYFS) meetings with you as well as dispositional conferences and/or administrative reviews
  • Provide in-depth information about CP&P (formerly DYFS) policies and procedures and the Manual of Requirements for Resource Family Parents
  • Explain the institutional abuse investigation process as well as the possible outcomes
  • Act as a liaison/mediator between you and CP&P (formerly DYFS) as well as other community providers
  • Assist applicants through the licensing process
  • Work with you to identify local support through connecting with a FAFS volunteer committee or affiliate in your area

When should applicants contact their FAFS Family Advocate?

  • When they have questions about foster care or adoption
  • When they have questions about the licensing process

When should foster parents contact their FAFS Family Advocate?

  • When they have questions about CP&P (formerly DYFS) policies, procedures and licensing requirements
  • When they are informed that an Institutional Abuse investigation has started
  • When they want a FAFS Family Advocate to accompany them to meetings with CP&P (formerly DYFS)
  • When they want to question a CP&P (formerly DYFS) decision and/or action
  • When they need someone to talk to about foster care issues

When should foster parents, who are interested in adopting children in care, contact their FAFS Family Advocate?

  • When they need information on the adoption procedure and subsidy program
  • When they are not in agreement with the subsidy decision

When should parents, who have adopted through CP&P (formerly DYFS), contact their FAFS Family Advocate?

  • When they need information about available services
  • If they need to request a review of their adoption subsidy