The Crucial Role of the Foster Parent (at SOS Illinois and Beyond) to the Family First Act

SOS Children’s Villages Illinois has a model of care that sets itself apart from all other Chicago foster care agencies because we offer entire communities for our children in foster care rather than just a single home. We believe in developing strong, solid foundations for the children in our care. Our devoted and loving Foster Parents alongside our dedicated child welfare workers and staff all assist in creating a path for the children in our care to enjoy a place of healing, stability, and permanency.

foster parent

SOS Illinois has built our Villages around the mission of providing secure, safe, loving, and nurturing environments for youth in foster care so that they may grow to be caring and productive members of their communities, and our model of care ties in perfectly with the Family First Prevention Services Act that was passed this year. This post is the second installment in a four-part series on the impact of the Family First Prevention Services Act and our response and readiness at SOS Children’s Villages Illinois. To read the first, introductory installment, click here.

Foster Parents at SOS Illinois

Our Foster Parents lay the foundation of success for our children at SOS Children’s Villages Illinois. They are full-time, devoted members of the community who have made the decision to become a Foster Parent with a heart and desire to help children in foster care heal from devastating traumas and move forward toward the bright futures awaiting them. They are a beacon of light to the youth in our care as they offer stability, a home-like environment, and the comfort of 24/7 care and availability.

The Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) places significant importance on the shift from group homes to foster family homes with no more than six foster youth per home. The homes in our Villages align accordingly with the FFPSA as each home houses up to six children.

Our Dedicated Staff is Exactly What the FFPSA Calls for

We are extremely fortunate at SOS Illinois to have such dedicated staff that devote their livelihoods to being on-site so they can provide a complete spectrum of services to our children as well as supporting our Foster Parents. Some of the services made available to the children in foster care include Individual and Group Therapists, Family Advocates, and Child Welfare Specialists.

The Family First Prevention Services Act requires that any facility receiving Title IV-E funds be deemed an approved setting. Approved settings, also known as qualified residential treatment programs, must employ registered or licensed nursing staff along with other licensed clinical staff. SOS Illinois is proud to employ qualified, licensed staff that are easily accessible for the children in our care.

A Community Built Around the Principles of the Family First Prevention Services Act Long Before it Came into Effect

SOS Children’s Villages Illinois is unlike any other foster care in Chicago in the full-service community we provide to youth in foster care. We have three separate Village communities that include groups of individual homes that house up to six siblings at a time. Each Village community enjoys the privileges of sharing recreational facilities and administrative offices, and each loving member of our community works collectively as one to nurture our children so that they are able to heal, gain trust, confidence, and renewed hope to become self-reliant, caring, and responsible adults. In addition, our fourth site, Casa Tepeyac, provides in-home family services that act as both preventative and interventional measures to keep at-risk families intact. As the Family First Prevention Services Act addresses, entering into foster care should be the last measure in addressing the needs of a struggling parent or family. At Casa Tepeyac, we work towards minimizing foster care entrances by addressing the roots of such struggles before a foster care placement becomes necessary.

We have dedicated over 25 years to providing a community of committed and passionate members with the same goal in mind: to give children in foster care a life filled with love, hope, and support that will carry them far into their futures.

Looking to join in on making a difference through the unique community at SOS Children’s Villages Illinois? Help give back to the vulnerable youth in your community by learning how your loving donations benefit SOS Illinois.

If you’d like more information on the Family First Prevention Services Act and how it impacts children in foster care, head on over to the NCSL.