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July 23, 2020








"Talent is always conscious of its own abundance, and does not object to sharing."       - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 

Look for Fostering Vermont each week and be sure to send your news, events and other items of importance and interest to:  THE DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION: TUESDAY, NOON.


helpful news and information



Walk past this historic building in downtown Barre and you might never know that inside lies a bounty of clothing, supplies and toys for children and youth that has been gathered over the past year by Recruitment & Retention Specialist, Alona Tate, for the Barre District Family Services Division of DCF.  

"I reached out to some of our community partners and was delighted to hear from  Barre Rotary who helped us to secure this historic space." Tate explained. "
Barre Rotary completely renovated the space, including putting in shelving and floor coverings, as well as obtaining supplies and support from Calvin Wilson at Wilson Woodworks for new shelving." She adds, "Rotary does a tremendous amount of “hands on work”  within our community!"

The second floor offices have been transformed into a clothing closet with items for all ages.  Tate has cleaned, sorted, organized, displayed and then picks items for foster families who have a child in their care who could benefit from additions to their wardrobe.

"I never know what I might receive and so I spend time sorting and organizing and choosing the best items to make it easier for the families and children."  Tate packs up totes for every family that expresses a need - whether they're fostering a newborn or a growing teenager.  "It's amazing what is donated!" She said.  "One local organization makes beautiful quilts and tote bags by the dozens."  Tate holds up a calico printed baby quilt to show the craftsmanship and care that goes into each item.

Why a clothing closet?  

"We have very little room in our offices to properly sort and store clothing but the needs are there," Tate explained. "This family closet allows us to create a more congenial space for staff and volunteers to work in and for foster families to access what they need in a private, discreet and fun way."

Walking through the two generous rooms, Tate has everything sorted by age and gender identification. She has separated items like totes and back packs, shoes, boots, and baby carriers, bicycles and accessories.  She says it helps her to keep things in order and to be ready when the need arises. 

"I pack totes so that the families can just come and pick them up." she said. "They don't have a lot of extra time to shop, so this is a way to provide them and the children with great clothing and other needs in an efficient and quick way."

Why the need?  

"Sometimes a child is moved very suddenly and there really isn't time to gather their belongings. This makes it a little less stressful on the child and helps the foster care provider be ready when a child comes to them."

Tate further explains that teens are especially vulnerable.  "Just because you're sixteen, doesn't mean you want to wear uncool clothes."  All sizes from petite to Men's and Women's XX are needed.  "We have a lot more baby clothes than we do items for older preteen and teenagers," she explains.

For now the Family Closet is only open by appointment.  You can contact Alona at (802) 585-9861  or, you can email here at: .  

Many thanks to the Barre Rotary, faith groups and many donors who have supported the Family Closet. If you would like to make a donation, contact Alona for more information on what is currently needed and what will be anticipated as the season's change.

Did you know that each child in custody can apply for and get a free park pass for the summer! 

The Vermont Department of Forest and Parks is offering Free Park Passes for Foster Children again this year. ALL children and youth in foster care receive a free season's pass to Vermont State Parks . This is in addition to the family pass punch card which allows everyone in the family to attend and enjoy our state parks.

Some of the punch cards were purchased and some were donated by Vermont Parks Forever.  The RCs have all of these punch cards and have probably distributed them by now.  If you've not received one,  please alert your Resource Coordinator who will have the punch cards.
Last year approximately 200 children received these. In years past we served over 500. FSD also obtains punch card passes to our state parks that we issue to some Foster Parents who apply for them. If you are interested, please reach out to your resource coordinator.
This year, please note a small change in the submission process:
Please complete the application below and return to:

Barbara Joyal
If necessary, a physical copy can be sent to:
DCF/Family Services Division
280 State Street Building B
Waterbury, VT 05671-1030
Foster Parents Name: _____________________     
           Youth’s Name
(please PRINT)
    Age (if under 4, no pass is needed)
Deeper Dive into Adoption: Training Discussions

You have completed all the required training. Your adoption or legal guardianship has been finalized – maybe a long time ago. But still . . . you have questions, frustration, confusion, sadness or anger. This journey has been both more rewarding and more challenging than you could have ever imagined. Join us for one, two or three of these free one-hour long video conference calls to take a deeper dive into some of the issues that many adoptive (or legal guardianship) parents wonder about.
Summer 2020 Dates
Adoption and School
August 13th
7:00pm – 8:00pm
Children or youth who joined their families through adoption can have some unique challenges in the school setting. Certain activities – bring a baby picture to school or make a family tree or celebrating Mother’s or Father’s Day or even celebrating their birthdays – can illicit strong emotions. Explore ways to support your child and advocate with the school around these unique circumstances.



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, here are some helpful tips you and your family can use to make the experience less stressful.  As always, contact your District Office, should you need support during this critical time. Here is a link to our District Offices:

Stay Safe!  Have Fun!

As families enjoy summer activities, these tips might come in handy when you are out and about.  You can stay safe; just bear in mind the recommendations by the CDC and the State of Vermont.  Here are a few tips:
Parks and outdoor spaces

Before heading out, check with state and local authorities to see if parks, recreational facilities, natural bodies of water, beaches and swim areas are open. In the U.S., the National Park Service will decide on a park-by-park basis if a national park will open. In Vermont, our State Parks are open. If an area is going to be open, check if bathrooms and food concession stands also are open.

Choose a park that is close to home. Travel often involves stops, which can expose you to the COVID-19 virus. Keep space between yourself and others when using swimming pools.

While at the park, look for open areas, trails and paths that allow you to keep a distance of 6 feet (2 meters) from others. Avoid crowded areas.

Please contact your district office at: for information on resources and services available in your district.


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 send an email: with details.  Thank you!

The next VFAFA meeting is scheduled for: Tuesday, August 11th from 7-9pm via ZOOM. The link can be found on the VFAFA Facebook page.


helpful news and information in support of youth in foster care

Vermont's Youth Development Program


The Youth Development Program’s virtual Youth Advisory Board (YAB) is in the process of working on multiple projects including providing suitcases to youth in care and creating an Alumni Network. We are actively recruiting passionate youth who want to make a difference within the child welfare system to help out with both of these important projects!

Additionally, YDP is hosting a Movie Club (similar to a Book Club). Each week youth throughout the state of Vermont vote on a new movie to watch and then to discuss in the following YAB meeting. The YDP Movie Club has been a great way to stay connected with others and make friends while social distancing.

This week we are watching Blakkklansman (Spike Lee's hit film about an African American detective in the early '70s who infiltrates the KKK with help from a white undercover partner).

Virtual YAB meetings are every Thursday from 2-3 pm. All youth currently (or previously) involved in the child welfare system are welcome to join YAB meetings to pick the next movie, make friends with like-minded peers, and support each other and our community.

Contact Kayla at: for more information on how you can join the Movie Club and YDP's virtual YAB.


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

virtual events of interest

for vermont foster and kincare families

Summer Activities 2020
"Yes, you can still enjoy your summer!
Here are some fun ideas to explore!"

Break the code!  
Kids solve word puzzles and unscramble secret messages by answering questions about geography.

Play along with Elmo and Friends!
Play free games featuring Elmo, Daniel Tiger and more at

Make Awesome Art with Nature!
Making foraged art is about making art with what you find and finding art in what you see. By playing with blooms, leaves, sticks, and branches to make beautiful, geometric, whimsical shapes and forms, we add a momentary human element to frame nature’s beauty.

Take a Ride to the Top of Vermont!
In an age when more and more resorts are packed with summer activity choices, the buzzword this year is "simplicity", with an accent on natural beauty and, of course, social distancing. One thing is for sure: A mountain escape may be just what your quarantined self needs.


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. 


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:


Up the Down Escalator

Have you ever tried to walk UP an escalator that’s going down?

That’s how it feels to be me – a sixteen year old girl who lives in a world that operates one way while I sometimes operate another.

So, if you become my foster family,  here’s what you’ll need to know:

I LOVE dogs!  
I LOVE being outside and going on long car rides!
I LOVE to color!  And I like having a younger sibling around!

What I need help with are coping skills that keep me safe. And someone who can read my nonverbal cues, especially when I get stressed. It helps when I don’t have to explain myself and when you have things set up that will help me to stay safe – even when I’m acting in a way that might be risky.  You’ll just know and will support me.  Oh!  I also have a lot of helpful people at my school and through counseling.  And there are people in my life who want to stay connected with me even as I move on.  That makes me feel wanted, connected, and a little less stressed about being in foster care.

So, if you have a dog, even another child in your home who’s younger than me, and if you are patient, really know how to hear me and listen to what's important to me, and if you can understand the things that need to be in place for me to be successful, maybe we can be each other’s new family?  It will be challenging, I know, but it will also be one of the most meaningful decisions you’ll ever make.  

To learn more, here’s what you do:  Go to  If you want to be contacted, complete the form at

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

Are you healthy?  Are you in a low-risk category for Covid19? If so, there may be a child or youth waiting who would benefit from your care.

Please visit us on the web at: http//


Contact the Vermont Department for Children and Families, Family Services Division to find out more about caring for a child or youth in your community. Thank you. 


Thank you for your generous support!

Thank you to the Barre Rotary for making it possible for our Barre District Office to open up a Family Closet where it is most needed! Thank you from all of us in Barre!!
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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