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December 10, 2020











“You can always choose to be generous with your time." - Jose Figueroa 

Look for Fostering Vermont every other week. Send your news, events and other items of importance and interest to:  DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION: TUESDAY, NOON.


reaching out to communities statewide

New recruitment messages in support of critical needs in each district are launched on Front Porch Forum on a regular, continuous basis. If you know of a person or family, like yourself, who might be interested in foster care, please let your District office know and please subscribe to your community's Front Porch Forum.  Email:

Please note: Front Porch Forum messages are not stories of specific children but composite stories of children who may have been in our care. We use stories to illustrate the experiences of children and youth and to help find appropriate foster care for all. Do YOU have a story to share with us about your experience as a Foster parent? If so, email:

Here is  one of these messages:

The Department for Children and Families, Family Services Division extends our sincere and deepest gratitude to everyone serving children, families, friends, and communities.  We especially want to wish you a safe and happy holiday and to acknowledge the role of foster care providers who have been identified as "essential persons" by Governor Scott during this demanding time.  Foster, kin and respite care givers have stepped up in ways that no one could have predicted would be requested. Thank you!

 With schools out and children at home, some families find themselves at a tipping point.  It is our hope that families may continue fostering and providing respite care and that no child has to be moved. 

The Family Services
Division, and everyone who is a member of our family of caregivers, are working together to ensure the safety of Vermont's children and youth. If you are interested and able to provide foster or respite care, we would love to include you in our family of caregivers.  Thank you!  And happy holidays!
To learn more, go to  If you want us to contact you, complete the form at

You can also call your local Family Services District Office and ask to speak to the Resource Coordinator.

Lastly, if you are ever worried about child safety, as always, please call the Child Protection Hotline at 1(800) 649-5285.

Religious Differences & the Holidays

Holidays can be tough for foster families. Children in care miss their families and their traditions, while at the same time they may want to be part of the activities of the foster family. When there’s a religious difference between the child’s family and the foster family, things can become even more complicated.

Religion can be a sensitive issue. Legally, birth parents have the right to choose their children’s religion or lack of religion. Placement of their child in foster care does not take away this right.

Of course, most foster parents try to respect the culture and religious customs of the children in their care. But what does this mean when it comes to religion?

The answer lies in establishing open lines of communication among foster parents, DCF Family Services, and the birth family. If your agency knows how you feel about religious issues (for example, if prayer makes you feel uncomfortable, or if you feel compelled to convert children and their families), it will make informed placement decisions.

This communication works both ways. The more you know about the religion, traditions, and preferences of birth families, the easier it will be for you to act in a way that honors their beliefs.

For more on this topic, visit:


November 16, 2020 

Dear Vermont Foster Caregiver,

First, let me thank you for all your ongoing efforts to support Vermont children and families as we navigate the impact of COVID-19 on our families and communities.   The compassionate care you continue to provide is what helps to create safety and reassurance for the young people in your care.

On November 13,
2020, Governor Phillip Scott announced several temporary limitations on social gatherings in response to rising numbers of COVID -19 in our state and nationally. Click here to read more. We have been grappling with what those directives mean through a child welfare lens.

When a child has been removed from a parent’s care and placed in DCF custody;
parent-child contact is ordered by the court.  DCF, as the custodian, has a responsibility to ensure that this contact occurs.  At the same time, during the COVID-19 pandemic, DCF has a responsibility to ensure that contact occurs in a manner that is safe and in alignment with the latest guidance from the Department of Health, and in compliance with the expectations of the court. 

In response to these new directives, the Family Services Division and its partners are coordinating meetings with parents and their attorneys to determine how
Parent-Child Contact will occur. If parents agree to move to virtual Parent-Child Contact, we can do so right away, by agreement of all of the parties in writing. If the parent is unwilling to shift to virtual Parent-Child Contact, and there is a documented health risk to either the child, the foster parent, or the foster parent's family,

DCF will be required to file a motion with the court to modify the existing court order.  Please communicate with your Family Services Worker if you believe that you, your family,
or the child(ren) you are caring for, fall into this category.  Please be aware that DCF is required to continue to offer, in person, Parent-Child Contact until a decision on the motion is made.  Please click  here for the most up to date guidance on how to conduct safe, in person Family Time.
This shift in how the division is approaching Parent-Child Contact will begin the week of November 16 and will continue for a minimum of 30 days (until 12/15/2020).   The decision to continue or suspend this modified approach to Parent-Child Contact will be reviewed by the Agency of Human Services at that time.   Please note that the proposed shift to remote Parent-Child Contact is intended to include Family Services Worker supervised visits,  those visits supported by Easter Seals or NFI, as well as those visits that you may be supporting independently as a caregiver.  All adults participating in Family Time will be required to wear a mask during Family Time.  Adults will be directed not to be eating or drinking during Family Time to further reduce risks to all involved. 

You should be expecting contact from the local DCF Family Services Office and /or our partners at Easter Seals or NFI to discuss these changes and plan for Family Time Contact. 

We recognize that you and your family are significantly impacted by the changing dynamics related to  COVID.  Stress levels are likely to be high for any number of reasons.  We want to encourage you to stay connected through the foster parent
Facebook pages and by reading the biweekly foster parent e-newsletter.  We know there have been questions and some misinformation circulating about whether respite will be allowed with the most recent Governor’s order.  Click here for our most recent respite guidance.    Please know that FSD staff are working and available to respond to your questions, concerns, or needs for support. 
For up to date information about the Coronavirus and strategies for staying healthy, please visit the Vermont Health Department’s website

Additionally, DCF has stood up a COVID-19 information page on our website. Links to other DCF Division information can be found at this link:

With Gratitude,

Barb Joyal
System of Care Unit Director
DCF/ Family Services


helpful news and information from our Vermont Kin As Parents partners
 (802) 871-5104 or Cell: (802) 399-9264

  Welcome to VKAP News!

Vermont Kin As Parents is joining our newsletter!  We could not be more pleased!  Parenting is not easy and parenting a relative child comes with many benefits as well as possible and likely challenges. In future editions of "Fostering Vermont", our biweekly e-newsletter, you will hear from members of VKAP, like yourselves, including Board members:

Jim Holloway - President
Linda Deliduka - Secretary
Chris Trombley - Treasurer

For more information about VKAP, please contact us at:  (802) 871-5104, (802) 399-9264, or at:   


helpful news and information from our VFAFA partners 

Here you will find notices of upcoming meetings, events, and news of special interest from our VFAFA partners. If you would like to suggest a topic or share news from your Parent Group, please email:  Thank you!

 VFAFA board members:

Steve May, President
Kara Haynes, Vice President
Lisz Graves, Secretary
Linda Couture, Treasurer (Returning)


Please complete the following short survey. It should only take about two minutes to do.

If you have not yet watched the video, "Voices of Foster Parents" made by VT foster parents, I'd encourage all to do so by sending a Facebook friend request to "Foster Anderson" letting Amy Anderson know if you are a foster/adoptive parent who would like to see the video. From there, she can also connect you to local support groups as well as the statewide group. We are in the process of building community support groups where members of the community give Foster/adoptive parents free goods and services they may need. 

If you are from Chittenden, Lamoille, Washington, Franklin, Newport, Springfield, St Johnsbury or Rutland and you are interested in buying a $5 mask (shown below) or would consider posting on your Facebook wall about these, let Foster Anderson know. $4 goes directly to the Children's Activities fund and you can help spread awareness of all the children in the US waiting for families to adopt them.


VFAFA holds its Board of Directors meeting on the 2nd Tuesday of each month.  Members are welcome and encouraged to join these board meetings. Our next meeting is Tuesday, January 12th, from 7pm-9pm.

 During the Covid-19 restriction time VFAFA is meeting via online or phone. You can join the ZOOM meeting here:

Meeting ID: 858 2272 7984
Password: 288400
One tap mobile

Dial by your location:  +1 646 876 9923 

Meeting ID: 858 2272 7984
Password: 288400

In addition to the above information, you can always find a link on the Vermont Foster and Adoptive Families Facebook page.

We would like to expand our membership outreach.  VFAFA maintains a virtual community on-line through Facebook as a means to support community members.  To become a member of the Facebook page, go to Vermont Foster and Adoptive Families and click join.  

Joan Rock
Foster/Kin Care Manager


helpful news and information

Considering the needs of birth families during the holidays can be more challenging than you might have expected. It is an emotional time for many and being considerate of the potentially sensitive nature of holiday interactions is important to remember and be prepared for.  Here are a few helpful tips to guide you! 
  • Ask children about their experiences and try to incorporate some of their family traditions. The children placed in your home may miss some activities that they experienced with their birth family or in a previous placement.
  • If possible, ask your child’s family members about their holiday traditions and customs. Ask about their beliefs and observances. Although you may feel stretched at the holidays, try to coordinate schedules with the birth families. This gives the children a chance to share what is familiar while experiencing new traditions.
  • This is a good time for the youth in your home to make small gifts and send cards to their birth families or old neighbors and friends.
  • This is a time when many children feel conflicted feelings about their birth families and worry about them. It is a good time to let the young person know that it is okay for them to be safe and cared for even if their family struggles. Reassure them if you can, about the safety and care of their birth family.
  • Don't expect a child or youth in your care to want to participate in all your traditions. Invite them in but allow them the opportunity to choose whether or not to participate. 


news from around the state

Send us news of what's happening in your community and district.
We'll post highlights here.  Email to:
As we continue to shelter in place and remain safe from exposure to Covid-19,  please rely upon your District Office should you need support during this critical time. Here is a link to each of our District Offices:
Please contact your district office at: for information on resources and services available in your district.

The November 23rd edition of Seven Days featured a piece on Vermont foster and adoptive families.  The story included interviews with former foster youth, adoptive families and staff.  Follow the link to read the story and to learn more about us:
National Adoption Month Video

A video of families who have been touched by adoption was produced by Permanency Planning Program Manager, Gillie Hopkins in celebration of National Adoption Month. Here, you will find a link to the short piece that tells the story of adoption in Vermont.  We hope you enjoy it - and our thanks to all those who shared their story with us!

A delightful book called, "The Bread Fairy" was recently self-published by
author and Vermont foster and adoptive parent, Dawna Pederzani. The story chronicles one family's way of coping with the challenges all of us have had to face this past year because of the pandemic; and, the delightful emergence of a generous neighbor they dubbed, "The Bread Fairy". 

Find out more about this delightful story by contacting Dawna


helpful news and information in support of youth in foster care

Vermont's Youth Development Program

The Youth Development Program is hosting YAB (Youth Advisory Board) meetings the third Thursday of every month. The mission of YDP’s Youth Advisory Board is to empower youth through advocacy, training, teamwork, and courage to make meaningful change in the foster care system. In each YAB meeting youth build connections with peers in Vermont with similar lived experiences, get involved in youth engagement activities, participate in the state-wide youth Movie Club, support YAB projects including the Alumni Network and Higher Education and explore the best ways to support each other and people in our community.

The YAB meetings are the 3rd Thursday of every month from 3:30-4:30. The next one is one December 17th. at 3:30 pm.  

Two new projects have started that were developed in YAB meetings. Those projects include the Alumni Network and the Higher Education project. Each of them are being led by YDP youth interns. 

1. Alumni Network Project:

Group of former foster youth creating a support group for youth currently in foster care. The objective of the Alumni Network is to create the feeling of “someone on my side” for youth currently in foster care. The alumni network is currently working on creating more employment opportunities for alumni youth within the child welfare system (internships and hopefully full-time positions).

2. Higher Education Project:

A group of youth with lived experience within the child welfare system that believe “Every person who has been in foster care has opportunities to attain higher education and training.” The Higher Education Project is currently working on providing education waivers to cover the full/partial costs of education programs for youth and alumni who wish to pursue higher education. 

To get involved in these projects, and other youth engagement opportunities, please attend monthly YAB meetings and contact Kayla @


Kayla Altobelli

Youth Engagement Coordinator
Youth Development Program
Washington County Youth Service Bureau
P.O. Box 627, 38 Elm St.
Montpelier, VT 05601

(802) 229-9151

events of interest
for vermont foster and kincare families

Gingerbread House Making Challenge Free
Dec. 1-31
Brownell Library
6 Lincoln Street, Essex Junction
Families drop off ornate and edible structures for public display.
All ages. 802-878-6955

HopStop Family Workshop: Make-A-Dreidel Workshop Free Online
Dec. 8-15
Hopkins Center for the Arts
2 East Wheelock Street, Hanover
Kids ages 3 through 8 assemble and paint dreidels with the four Hebrew letters Nun, Gimel, Hey and Shin.
Magic From A Distance
Date: December 12, 2020
Time: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM  
Join  “Matt Roberts: Magic From A Distance,” a personalized, real-time virtual magic show right on your computer screen. Participate from the comfort of your home as Emmy-nominated entertainer and award-winning illusionist Matt Roberts makes solid objects transform, vanish and move by forces unseen. One ticket good for the whole family! for details

StJ Art on the Street Winter NEK Starlight Exhibition
Through 02/28/21     
St. Johnsbury, VT
A celebration of the arts and artists who live in the Northeast Kingdom but are also celebrated internationally. Exhibits are all accessible to view from the street and now have QR codes on windows to link you directly with artists. This provides artists and audiences an opportunity to continue celebrating art together in a COVID-safe and responsible way. Featuring eleven artists this season: Terry Ekasala, Tara Goreau, Megan Hack, Janet McKenzie, Ezra Ranz-Schleifer, Delia Robinson, and Sachiko Yoshida. The Exhibit also includes a Winter Landscape Group Show featuring Benjamin Barnes, Laura Heijn, Jeff MacQueen, and Anni Lorenzini.  

Dave Keller’s You Get What You Give CD Release Concert

12/19/20 - 12/19/20    7:00 pm
Spruce Peak Arts       
Stowe, VT

$25 for in-person attendance , $15 for a livestream ticket
Dave Keller – the award-winning singer, guitarist and songwriter is known for his trademark Southern soul and blues music. You Get What You Give – is a tribute featuring Keller and twenty-one artists encompassing a diversity of styles, backgrounds, ages, genders, and ethnicities. This concert features Dave Keller and band members Ira Friedman, Alex Budney, and Jay Gleason. Together they will bring their trademark passion and integrity to the stage, to honor the work of his collaborators and bear witness to the racial inequalities in our nation.

Miracle on Green Tree Drive: A Lyric Family Christmas Special
12/20/20 - 01/20/21     
Burlington, VT

This holiday season, the nonprofit Lyric Theatre Company presents “Miracle on Green Tree Drive: A Lyric Family Christmas,” an original televised musical special. The show premieres Sunday, Dec. 20 at 7:30 p.m., Streaming access is available through Jan. 20, 2021 at  Tickets are $20 for an individual viewing, and $45 for a family viewing (multiple viewers in one location).

Winter Solstice Celebration
Monday, Dec 21, 2020 from 4:00pm to 5:45pm
Village Green
Jeffersonville, VT 05464
Kick-off the festivities at 4:00 pm on the Village Green. Then join Goodtime Charlie for a dance party. There will be glow sticks and hot cocoa for the kids. This is a Boston Globe "Don't Miss Event."  This is a Family Friendly, Smuggs Activity event.

'Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol'
Online Through Jan. 3, 2021
Tony Award-winning actor Jefferson Mays is the sole performer in a unique adaptation of the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and a trio of ghosts. Presented by Vermont Stage in collaboration with TBD Pictures.

No Strings Marionnettes
Through Jan. 1, 2021
Chandler Music Hall
71-73 Main St., Randolph
No Strings Marionnettes sail deep into King Neptune's sea in a swashbuckling quest to prevent people from polluting. 802-728-9878

Shelburne Museum
6000 Shelburne Rd., Shelburne
Continues through Dec. 19
The museum grounds and buildings turn into a twinkly wonderland designed to capture the cheer of the season. 802-985-3346

Christmas at the Farm
Billings Farm & Museum
Rt 12 & Old River Rd, Woodstock
Fri., Dec. 11, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sat., Dec. 12, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sun., Dec. 13, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Dec. 19-24, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Dec. 26-Jan. 3, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Families celebrate the holidays 19th-century-style with candle-dipping and cooking demos, warm cider doughnuts, and snowshoe rambles in the fields. 802-457-2355 


Thank you for your generous support!

We appreciate every Vermont community and individual for all the ways you support children and youth in foster care throughout Vermont.  The holiday season is here. Can you support children in foster care with a gift or donation?  Our Recruitment & Retention Specialists and Resource Coordinators can communicate a child's needs to you. Here's how:
 Contact your District Office Recruitment & Retention Specialist and Resource Coordinator. Here is a link to our district offices:
For all newsletter inquiries, please contact: 

Are you a foster care provider who would be willing to speak with the press?  If so, we would LOVE to hear from you. From time-to-time, the Commissioner's Office receives requests for interviews. Perhaps your story may be one we could share? For more information, contact:
Copyright © 2020
Vermont Department For Children and Families, Family Services Division
All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is:
280 State Street HC1N Building B Waterbury Vermont 05671
Tel: (802) 241.0896
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