Our Family Advocates provide support to foster, adoptive & kinship families in NJ.
Meet the Family Advocates!
Meet Jessica Hernandez, FAFS Family AdvocateAs a FAFS’ Family Advocate (FFA), my goal is to assist resource parents by providing them with the resources and supports in their area along with Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) and Office of Licensing (OOL) policy and procedure breakdowns and clarifications.
The most rewarding part about working with foster families is knowing that you are making a difference in the lives of others by simply being that listening ear, by showing empathy and compassion, and ultimately by making sure that foster families feel supported. The experience alone makes it rewarding.
I will give my resource parents the comfort and security in knowing that they can contact me for any questions and concerns that they might have and that I will do my best to help them navigate through resources available to them.
As a FFA, I hope to provide foster parents with knowledge on the policies and procedures of DCP&P and OOL in a language that they are comfortable with and understand. I will give my resource parents the comfort and security in knowing that they can contact me for any questions and concerns that they might have and that I will do my best to help them navigate through resources available to them. More
An experience that has led me to become an FFA is having worked as a Child Specific Social Worker in the Intensive Foster Care Department at my previous employment in Massachusetts. It was there I gained a deep understanding of the foster care system from every perspective — the foster parent and the child/children in placement.
I enjoyed being able to connect to the different parties and serve as that liaison/middle person. Foster, adoptive and kinship families require lots of support, and I felt that this is what I was meant to do. Although it comes with its ups and downs, knowing that I am making a difference in the lives of others is my ultimate self-fulfillment.
If you’re a foster, adoptive or kinship parent who needs support or assistance, contact Jessica today.
Meet Sameerah Lewis-Diaab, FAFS Family AdvocateI’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.More
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 need of support or assistance, contact me today.
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