Being a CHD Foster parent is quite challenging. We will ask you to open your home and work with some very challenging children, but most of our current foster parents will tell you that it’s worth it.
We have a very high retention rate – we have a pool of foster parents that have been with us as long as 25 years – but we can always use more quality foster parents.
CHD maintains approximately 85 active foster care homes mostly within the Western Massachusetts community. Most of these homes are utilized for Intensive Foster Care (IFC).
CHD Foster Care homes are all actively recruited from a diverse pool of resources able to ensure the best possible match for the clients that we serve.
After MAPP training, ongoing training is done on a monthly basis with trainings often targeted toward specific needs. External trainers are utilized augmenting a library of internal trainings which form the curriculum. Topics covered within the last year were Suicide Prevention; Bullying and Discipline. The training team is able to offer at short notice child-specific trainings to accommodate IFC placements. Diabetes, AIDS and Eating Disorders are examples of the trainings that have been offered to provide resources with skill sets to care for clients with particular issues. The Homefinding staff includes certified CPR and First Aid trainers, and also DCF MAPP trainer of trainers.
IFC clients are subject to higher levels of foster parent involvement (transportation; appointments; school liaison etc) DCF foster care generally involve less of that kind of involvement. CHD has an effective screening process whereby if a resource cannot likely fulfill IFC requirements (work, current family situation) the resource is referred to DCF.
Once training and Orientation are complete and you become an active foster parent, you will have access to 24/7 support from our on-call caseworker(s), backed up by a manager on-call system. CHD foster parents have 24/7 placement support and are assigned a Homefinder who will guide them through the recruitment process and then meet with them regularly to maintain the home in good standing and resolve any issues that arise.
Each year CHD holds several events that are partly organized and funded by some of our community partners who include PRIDE; HNE and the Council of Churches. CHD appreciates our Foster parents every year with a special dinner and a picnic. CHD has a network of volunteers within the local communities that ostensibly assist with donations for Foster Children, but also assist in promoting the welfare of the children in our care. Through this relationship many of our volunteers have become willing advocates for the foster children that we serve.