News and resources for members of the
JFS Connecting Hearts Family Alliance.
It's "Love Makes a Family" Month!
This month, we are excited to continue our “Love Makes a Family” video series on Facebook! Do you know someone who would make a great foster parent? You are the perfect person to encourage them to begin their own fostering journey! Our “Love Makes a Family” interviews with adoptive parents is all about how you can help find families for children in foster care.

When you share your personal story, people can start to see themselves as potential foster parents. Invite a friend for a walk or a socially distanced coffee and share your experiences as a foster, adoptive, or kinship parent. Need help starting the conversation? Contact Cate! She is happy to give you tips tailored to your experiences and interests. You have the power to find the right family for a child waiting for a forever home!

We would love to hear your story too! Reach out to Cate Hawks at any time.

We’re also excited to have partnered on Valentine’s Drive with Canteen Ashland! Together, collected Valentine cards, treats, and socks for our local Departments of Social Services to bring on visits with children in foster care, local residential facilities, and group homes where children are waiting to be adopted.
Our Heart Gallery spotlight this month is Rashawn!

Educational Resources
If you are fostering for a Local Department of Social Services, don’t forget that you qualify for free training through the Foster Parent College!

The National Foster Parent Association (NFPA) also provides a free online training institute, NFPAti, with a unique series of courses.

JFS’ Cate Hawks recently joined Dr. Stephen Porges for an insightful conversation about the impact of trauma on brain development. You can watch it here. If you’re interested in learning more about Dr. Porges’ brain research and how it applies to children in foster care, here is another video to watch that goes more in depth.

Need a good book on trauma-informed parenting? JFS Connecting Hearts volunteer Henrietta Bennett recommends The Connected Child. Learn more about this great read here.
Support for You
Join us for “Soup and Support”! We’re live on Facebook every Wednesday with stories to inspire you, resources to assist you, and a listening ear to support you. Whether you’re just getting started or a seasoned foster, kinship, or adoptive parent, we are here each Wednesday to support you. Below is the schedule - join us with your favorite bowl of soup or cup of tea!

  • Around 4:00 PM, we'll share an educational webinar – you can join us live or watch it at your convenience.

  • At 8:00 PM, join us for another live support session with Lori McConnell, an outstanding adoptive mom! You can join us live on Facebook in our “CH Family Alliance Support Group.” Since the group is set to private, you will need to click "Join Group" and answer a quick question, then we will add you as a member!

Our featured resource this month is about advocating for your needs in a relationship. We know that marriages and partnerships can be stressed during the foster, adoption, and kinship journey. This blog post from the relationship social scientist Carol Bruess has great insights that you can apply to your relationship with your spouse and beyond.
Laws and Policies
The Virginia Department of Social Services is collecting public input about a new regulation impacting foster parents, including the Foster Parent Bill of Rights and a new process for filing complaints. Your opinion matters, and you have until midnight, March 3 make your voice heard!

Here's a step-by-step guide:

2.     Click on “Emergency Text” – this is where you can read the proposed regulation.
As you read, consider:
  • In section A, is there anything you would add to the Foster Parent Bill of Rights?
  • For section B, are you comfortable with the steps for making a complaint?

3.     After you’re done reading, go back to the previous page. (If you get lost, click the link at step 1!)

4.     Then, click on the link next to the box titled “Comment Period," where the yellow arrow is pointing below. This takes you to the page where you can enter your comments.
5.     Finally, click “Enter a comment.” After you’re finished, be sure to click “Submit” below the comment box!
Want to learn more about the Bills of Rights for Foster Parents nationwide? Here is a link to a state-by-state review from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Upcoming Events
JFS Connecting Hearts hosts the Central Region Heart Gallery of Waiting Kids through the FAM-20-093 Grant Partnership with the Virginia Department of Social Services.