Make a Difference in the Life of an Infant
Is there anything better than the look of trust, and the smile of an infant? Many parents look back on those days of caring for and nurturing an infant with fondness. Watching an infant develop, grow and respond to that special attention and nurturance is very rewarding and satisfying.
In communities across the Commonwealth, there are infants who need temporary foster care due to abuse and neglect. Unfortunately there are not always enough foster families available to open their homes and hearts to infants in need.
The Brockton Area Office of the Department of Children and Families, in collaboration with area partners, has responded to this need by implementing Team Fresh Start, an innovative, collaborative Foster Care program for infants in the Greater Brockton area (Avon, Stoughton. Holbrook, Easton, North Easton, Bridgewater, East Bridgewater, West Bridgewater and Brockton).
What is Team Fresh Start?
Team Fresh Start provides infants with a healthy start during the critical first year of life by recruiting foster parents who will provide 1 to 1 foster care in a stable, nurturing environment. Quality of care is enhanced, as there is only one infant in the home as well as no other foster children.
Team Fresh Start foster parents will also mentor and role model successful parenting to the infant's birth parents. Foster parents by sharing their skills and parenting expertise, assist birth parents in better understanding the needs of their infant leading to improved parenting skills.
Team Fresh Start offers foster parents the opportunity to be part of a team model working with social workers and our community providers to provide comprehensive care to both the infant and the birth family.
What is the Goal of Team Fresh Start?
The goal is to provide birth parents with the resources and tools they need to work towards reunification with their infant as quickly as possible. To assist with this goal, birth parents will have increased opportunity for visitation with their infant including participation in medical care and Early Intervention appointments.
Team Fresh Start was first introduced at the DCF Central MA Regional Office in Worcester in 2000. The program has been very successful in providing stable, quality care to infants as well as achieving increased reunification between infants and their birth families. When reunification was not possible, a faster route to achieving a permanency alternative was planned.
What qualities are needed to become Team Fresh Start foster parent?
- Agree to care for one infant only with no other foster children in the home
- Families where there is one parent in the home at all times
- Experienced parents. Families with health care, social service, teaching backgrounds would be helpful
- Be willing to mentor a birth parent and work as part of a social work team
- Possess stamina, sensitivity, empathy and stability
What is the process to become a Team Fresh Start Foster Parent?
- Meet all foster parent application standards
- Complete a specialized training program on infant care and development
- Complete a CPR and First Aid Training provided by DCF
What are the Rewards/Benefits of Becoming a Fresh Start Foster Parent?
- You will have the support of social workers and community agency resources
- You will have opportunity for on-going training and the availability of an agency foster parent support group
- You can give back to your community and share your skills with others
- Most importantly, you can make a difference in the life of a child that will last forever, as well as helping a birth parent achieve a fresh start
For More information
Team Fresh Start
Brockton Area Office
110 Mulberry Street
For more information on Adoption and Foster Care Options, v isit us at www.mass.gov/dcf.
This information is provided by the Department of Children and Families.