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February 18, 2021













"Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance."   - Brené Brown

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


Fitting In - What Is Your Foster Child's Behavior Saying?

The first week with your foster child can bring some interesting behaviors. We have experienced two different styles over the years.

First, and most common, is that the first week or two is kind of a honeymoon period. The child is generally behaving well and being somewhat reserved. As time goes on and they get more comfortable, you will start to see their true personality come out more and start seeing behavior issues such as tantrums, fighting, crying, depression, etc.

The second thing we have seen is children that come in with a lot of behavior issues and have clearly not ever experienced having a routine, boundaries, and so on. These kids can be tough at first because they are often very independent (so they are getting into everything) and they really resist boundaries at first.

With both types of behavior, I have found it very important to set up routines and boundaries. Kids really need these in order to feel safe.

Depending on the age of the child using tools such as behavior/sticker charts or other rewards systems are really helpful. I have really liked the system in the book Your Defiant Child by Russel A Barkley. It is simple and easy to use in the midst of the chaotic first week.

I have found that the more formal spaces I can create to use positive reinforcement, the better things go. There are often a lot of “no, don’t do that’s” the first week as kids test boundaries and explore their new surroundings.

If you can aim for 4-5 positive acknowledgments of behavior to each 1 “no” things will go much smoother!

One other thing to consider the first week is to potentially work on setting up counseling and/or behavioral assessments. There are often waitlists for these services so the sooner you get on the list, the sooner you and your kids will get help.

Do you have experience as a foster care provider you might like to add to this conversation? Share your thoughts with us.  Email:

(This is Part Two of Three)  For more, visit: 

As we continue to work to safely navigate 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:


news from around the state

Send us news of what's happening in your community and district.
We'll post highlights here.  Email to:

Here is the link to our updated training catalog:

Vermont Kin, Foster and Adoptive Families Training Catalog February 2021 

This catalog also includes a link to our online training catalog.

 We will send you a new catalog link once a month.

 Please reach out if you have questions.



The Consortium for Adoption and Guardianship is sponsoring a Lunch and Learn Series being held at noon on the 3rd Wednesday of each month throughout 2021. 

The first session is scheduled for February 17th with Christina Shuma, MSW, discussing Post Adoption Contact Agreements.   Please share this information with resource families – and consider joining in yourself!

To get more information and to register go to

Lunch and Learn Series 2021
Sponsored by supporting Foster, Adoptive, and Guardianship families, and their supporters, with listening, discussing and learning around topics that touch their lives. Join us each third Wednesday at noon for this free virtual series. To Register click on the session’s title or go to the Consortium Website to Register

February 17th
Post Adoption Contact Agreements with Christina Shuma
March 17th
Schools and our Children with Monica Darrah
April 21st
StrengtheningTransracial Families—continuing the conversation with April Dinwoodie
May 19th
Talking with our Children about their Journeys with Janet Benoit Connor
June 16th
Parenting LGBTQ+ Children and Youth with Mara Iverson
July 21st
Strengthening Transracial Families—continuing the conversation with April Dinwoodie
August 18th
Continuing the Journey—Adult Adoptees with Katherine Boise
September 15th—Being a Transracial/Transcultural Family in Vermont with Karen Hack
October 20th
Strengthening Transracial Families—continuing the conversation with April Dinwoodie
November 17th
Keeping Connections with Birth Families Positive with Christina Shuma
December 15th
Working with Extended Families with TBD

Thriving As a
Trans-cultural Family

The Consortium for Adoption and Guardianship provides training each year to families – foster, adopt, guardian – helping to prepare them for parenting transracially. Whether parents are already fostering/parenting a BIPOC child or would like to be considered for a placement this training will help them to understand the challenges and delights of transracial parenting and support them in becoming an ally for the child in their home. The training is also open to their extended families as a strong network of support who “gets it” is important to families’ success.

Catherine Harris
Post-Permanency Program Manager
Family Services Division
280 State Drive, HC 1 North
Waterbury, VT 05671-1030

Desk: 802-241-0901
Cell: 802-760-0196

We Want to Hear from You!

All foster and adoptive parents can become members of the Vermont Foster/Adoptive Family Association.  We would like to hear about your understanding of the benefits of joining this organization as a foster, kinship, or adoptive parent.  The results of the survey will be shared with the VFAFA board, so they can evaluate next steps.
If you have already seen and completed this survey, thank you for your responses.

helpful news and information for 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)



Below is a reference to our upcoming VFAFA meeting.  This is a great opportunity to hear the information that our leadership is sharing with Foster/Kin caregivers.  Please mark your calendars and make an effort to attend.  It is also an opportunity to meet the new Executive Board for VFAFA.

VFAFA Meeting

Tuesday, March 9, 2021     7 pm


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.

Joan Rock
Foster/Kin Care Manager


The Children’s Activity fund is used to support foster and adopted children with enrichment activities.  Once you have paid your Vermont Foster/Adoptive Family Association dues, your child is eligible for $100 each year as funds are available. 

If you are from Burlington, Morrisville, Barre, St. Albans, Newport, Springfield, St Johnsbury
or Rutland Districts, and you are interested in buying a $5 mask (shown below) Please contact Foster Anderson on Facebook.   $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. These masks are meant to be worn as a conversation starter to bring awareness of the 30,000 children that leave foster care in the US without a permanent family.  Invite them to learn more about foster care and adoption OR the many ways to support foster and adoptive families. You do not need to be an adoptive parent to begin a conversation about this need!

Would consider posting this message with the link below on your Facebook page?

helpful news and information from Vermont Kin As Parents

Vermont Kin as Parents also known as VKAP has moved to 1205 North Ave Burlington, 05408. The phone number is 802 871 5104. This number is answered 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.   VKAP can help caregivers navigate the various educational, medical, legal, and financial services the children need.  A support group is available on Tuesday evening. Please contact VKAP if you have any questions.  Email Jim Holway:



   We here at VKAP were saddened to learn of Lynn Granger’s passing on February 9, 2021. Lynn was one of the founders of Vermont Kin as Parents, and she served as VKAP’s Executive Director for over 12 years. She was a visionary, full of heart and determination.


(INSET PHOTOS) Lynn Granger receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005 from the Kidsafe Collaborative.  Lynn in 2005 with other members of the Grandparents As Parents group, which evolved into VKAP.

In her work with VKAP, and in every area of her life, Lynn embodied a commitment to kinship care. She was devoted to supporting kinship families, and those who worked with them, on every level. Lynn increased community awareness of the struggles and joys of kinship care, assisted kinship caregivers in accessing resources, helped caregivers to develop the knowledge and skills they needed to best support the children in their care, and worked to create positive changes in practice and legislation for kinship families.

Lynn’s legacy lives on in the work of VKAP, and in the lives of all those who have been enhanced by her dedication. She will be missed.

Please see the obituary below to learn more about this amazing woman.

helpful news and information from the Youth Development Program 

A driver's license allows someone to go almost anywhere to find and create opportunities...”

Each month, we will share comments from youth who have experienced foster care. This month, our topic is about the importance of having a Driver's License.

Youth with foster care experience often face more barriers to independent transportation than their peers.  It can be harder to attend Driver’s Ed. classes, obtain practice driving hours, and secure auto insurance.  Because having a driver’s license is such a necessity, especially here in Vermont, DCF and YDP are making efforts to knock down barriers and make independent driving more accessible to youth in care.

Here’s what youth are saying about why having a driver’s license is so important:
"A driver's license allows someone to go almost anywhere to find and create opportunities that wouldn't be possible otherwise, rather than waiting or hoping they come. Or hoping someone can drive them to them..."
“Without a license, I wouldn't be able to go to work or go to health appointments or bring my son to school and his
doctor's appointments.”
"I want to be able to travel and get to work when I need to and not have to depend on others for a ride."

“Having a driver’s license is important to me because it means I can more easily access certain things, such as independent transportation, that can make it much more convenient to get to appointments or even just the grocery store.”

Thank you to all who contribute to these important conversations. 
To learn more about YDP, contact Kayla: @

A Picture of Success!

The American Bar Association provides these tips, listed here below, and recommendations to support youth in foster care whose needs and aspirations are unique to their age and situations. Here are a few of the ABA's tips that may be of help to anyone who is fostering an older child, teen, or young adult. These tips are of specific interest for foster youth with educational aspirations and those who have been involved in the juvenile justice system.

Foster Care Education Success  

- Youth are entitled to remain in their same school when feasible. 
- Youth are guaranteed seamless transitions between schools and school districts when school moves occur.
- Young children enter school ready to learn.
- Youth have the opportunity and support to fully participate in all aspects of the school experience.
- Youth have supports to prevent school dropout, truancy, and disciplinary actions.
- Youth are involved and engaged in all aspects of their education and educational planning and are empowered to be advocates for their education needs and pursuits.
- Youth have an adult who is invested in his or her education during and after his or her time in out-of-home care.
- Youth have supports to enter and complete postsecondary education.

Education Success for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System Goal

- Youth are empowered and engaged to make decisions about their own education and future.
- Youth have at least one adult who is invested in their education, before, during, and after involvement in the juvenile justice system.
- After being charged or adjudicated delinquent, youth remain in the same community school whenever feasible or enroll in a new community school.
- Youth who are educated in the community receive access to the full range of educational opportunities and supports.
-  Youth are educated in a supportive, positive school environment where they feel safe and empowered.
- Youth have access to high quality career pathways programs.
- Youth receive supports to prepare for, enter, and complete postsecondary education and training.
- Youth have smooth transitions between home schools and schools and receive effective reentry planning and supports. 
- All marginalized youth—and particularly youth of color, youth with disabilities, girls, LGBQ youth, gender non-conforming and transgender youth, English Language Learners, youth who are involved with both child welfare and justice systems, and those with intersectional identities—are educated in their home schools rather than being disproportionately assigned to juvenile justice placements, and receive the services, support and protections they need to address their unique barriers to education success.

For more information, visit:

events of interest
for vermont foster and kincare families


Sat., Feb. 20, 11 a.m.
James Kochalka Free Online
Fans of the Vermont graphic artist — and the state's first official Cartoonist Laureate — bring paper and a writing utensil to a storytime and drawing lesson with the author of the new book Johnny Boo and the Silly Blizzard.
Sun., Feb. 21, 4-5 p.m.
'Fairies and Dragons, Ponies and Knights' (Episode 2) Online
Five young dragons encounter a knight in training in part two of this episodic story presented by Dirt Road Theater.  
Some animals need help! Players solve puzzles to connect species with habitats where they can find food and, most importantly, survive. 802-244-7036

February 20 - 28, 2021.
Brattleboro Winter Carnival Week

Skiing! Snowshoeing! Scavenger Hunts!

Mon., Feb. 22
Teen Maker Kit: Light Tracing Table Free 
Brownell Library  Essex Junction
Crafters in grades 6 through 12 make tracing tables out of CD covers and fairy lights. Pick up kits from the library. 802-878-6956
  Mon., Feb. 22, 10-11:15 a.m.
Virtual Family Science Workshops: Creative Costumes Online
Feb. 13-21, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Maple Festival Week

Billings Farm & Museum
Rt 12 & Old River Rd, Woodstock
Spring-seeking families see maple recipe demos, meet farm animals, and explore the farm by snowshoe or horse-drawn sleigh. 

02/20/21 - 02/20/21     
Winter Shelter Build
Highland Center for the Arts   
Greensboro, VT
$10 per person

Phone: 802-533-2000       Email:

 10:00 am.  Get ready for fun in the snow! Learn about snow shelters and build your own quinzhee with Brian Emery, a Sterling College Outdoor Education student. Warm up by the fire and enjoy a hot beverage (included with your ticket). Make a day of it and enjoy lunch at the HCA Café. Participants should wear winter clothing suitable for spending several hours outdoors playing in the snow. In accordance with current state guidelines, each quinzee-building pod should contain only members from the same family. Masks and social distancing are required to ensure the well-being of the community. Recommended for ages 10 and up.    

March 2, 2021  
Read Across America Day

Read Across America Day is a nationwide reading celebration that takes place annually on March 2nd, Dr. Seuss's birthday (or near)! Across the country, thousands of schools, libraries, and community centers participate by bringing together kids, teens, and books, and you can too! Incorporate these guides and activities to celebrate reading with young people!



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.  If you would like to learn more about ways that you or your organization can support a child in foster care, our Recruitment & Retention Specialists and Resource Coordinators would love to work with you! Here's how:  Contact your District Office Recruitment & Retention Specialist and Resource Coordinator at:
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 © 2021
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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