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mass dcf foster care awarenessThe Department of Children and Families (DCF) begins 2017 with the addition of 15 staff members dedicated to recruiting foster parents across the state.

DCF created the foster care recruiter positions as part of the system-wide reform initiated in September 2015 by the Baker-Polito Administration in collaboration with frontline social workers.

“We are committed to building a large, diverse community of foster homes statewide,” said DCF Commissioner Linda Spears. “Foster homes provide a stable and nurturing environment.”

Based in DCF offices across the state, the recruiters raise foster care awareness locally; meet with prospective foster parents; prepare those who meet the eligibility requirements for Massachusetts Approach to Partnerships in Parenting training; and public events.

There are a variety of ways that people can help support DCF and foster children including joining DCF’s Volunteer Case Review program to help ensure that a child’s needs are met while they are in the agency’s care. Every six months, DCF conducts a case review of the approximately 9,500 children up to age 17 placed in foster homes and group homes. The three-person team includes a staff member from the DCF Foster Care Review Unit, an administrative manager from the child’s DCF area office and a community member.

“Volunteer case reviewers provide insight into their communities and what children need to thrive there,” said Commissioner Spears. “When children come into care, DCF helps make some very critical decisions and having another caring adult at the table enhances our ability to do what’s best for the child.”

To become a Volunteer Case Reviewer, you must be 18 years-old, be available to review one case per month and submit to a background check. All volunteers must participate in a 12 hour training over two days prior to their first case review.  Case reviews last approximately one hour and take place at DCF offices across the state during weekday business hours.

Find more information about the program and the application process on the DCF website or calling 1-800-286-0323 to speak with volunteer recruitment staff.

To learn about becoming a foster parent e-mail DCF or call (800) KIDS-508. Foster parents are needed for different types of foster care including long-term, emergency and respite.

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