HOUSTON, TEXAS: A national campaign to promote quality foster parenting was launched today at the National Foster Parent Association 2017 Conference. CHAMPS is a national campaign to ensure bright futures for kids in foster care by promoting the highest quality parenting. CHAMPS builds on research that shows that loving, supportive families – whether birth, kin, foster or adoptive – are critical to the healthy development of all children.
“Foster parents are game-changers for children,” said Jeremy Kohomban, CHAMPS co-chair and CEO of Children’s Village. “For the vast majority of children and young people in foster care, their foster parents are the most important adults in their daily lives.” Kohomban shared the stage with Lori Ross, CEO/President of FosterAdopt Connect and a foster/adoptive parent, and several young people who shared their experience in foster care.
CHAMPS aims to transform foster parenting in four ways:
1. Reforming state policies in 20-25 states over the next five years, to increase public and private agency capacity to support, engage, recruit and retain foster parents.
2. Promoting stronger federal policies that firmly embed the principle that children do best in families. Federal policy approaches might include fiscal incentives and greater state accountability measures to ensure the availability of trained and qualified foster parents.
3. Building a robust network of constituents to effectively advocate for quality foster parenting.
4. Changing the public narrative about foster parents to emphasize the vital role that foster parents play in a child’s life.
Quality foster parents are key to helping children recover from trauma, grow and flourish. They are the child welfare system’s primary intervention for helping children in foster care thrive. In the past, policymakers have largely overlooked opportunities for improving foster parenting, or have focused only on recruiting “just enough” families rather than on providing the best training and supports so foster parents are equipped to help children recover from trauma so they can grow and flourish.
CHAMPS brings together a national coalition of child-focused organizations that are committed to improving foster parenting policies. The Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution serves as the campaign’s research partner, providing evidence-based research into foster parenting and child development. Campaign lead partners: The Children’s Village, Youth Law Center, North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC), FosterClub, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO). Funding partners include the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, the Duke Endowment, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the Redlich Horwitz Foundation, and Lumos Foundation.
Visit the CHAMPS website http://www.fosteringchamps.org to sign up for campaign news, and the latest on state and national efforts.