A Letter from Our Executive Director
In this time of public uncertainty, MARE is committed to continuing our mission to find adoptive homes for children and teens in foster care.
The youth of foster care are already some of the most vulnerable in our society and this is only exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. We need to keep working to end their time in limbo and continue to work to find adoptive families for them. In the midst of uncertainty, our children need us now, more than ever.
As we address the evolving situation with COVID-19, you can count on MARE to keep our focus on serving children and families. Here are some of the ways we are doing that:
MARE staff are working remotely as directed by the Governor and are committed to continuing to provide all our services to families, children, and social workers. We are processing inquiries and available to talk with you about resources, support, and information. Please contact Liz Joyal (email@example.com), Family Support Services Coordinator, for help and assistance.
We are innovating ways to deliver meaningful events while the pandemic continues. At this time, we are exploring unique ways to replace the in-person events that bring kids, families and social workers together including digital solutions for matching and information events, and we are adjusting this year’s Jordan’s Furniture Walk/Run for Adoption to a virtual format (more information to follow).
The foster/adoptive community has always been resilient. As we navigate the days ahead, I know that resiliency will show itself in the ways we support and care for one another.
Stay safe and healthy,
COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How is MARE operating during the COVID-19 pandemic?
A:MARE is fully operational with staff working remotely and most accessible via email. For specific staff email addresses visit https://www.mareinc.org/page/meet-the-staff. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any general adoption questions or curiosities about what this pandemic means for your adoption journey. We remain committed to minimizing delays in getting waiting children and teens the permanency they deserve.
Q: I’m a social worker – what can I expect from my MARE Child Services Coordinator?
A: Everything you have come to expect! Child Service Coordinators are continuing to register and update waiting children, suggest matches with prospective families, and execute child specific recruitment. Additionally, we are planning Virtual Matching Events for social workers across the state. All photo, video and Wednesday’s Child shoots are on hold, however waiting children can still be presented in digital and print media.
Q: I’m a home studied family waiting for a placement – what can I expect from MARE Family Support Services?
A: We are here to answer questions regarding the matching process, provide relevant materials and resources, and respond to any inquiries about children profiled on our website. We are registering homestudies and identifying matches between registered families and waiting children. We have added an additional matching opportunity for waiting families to submit brief video profiles to be shared with adoption workers to facilitate matching. For questions on this program, please email Ricardo Franco (firstname.lastname@example.org) We continue to match waiting families with experienced Mentor families for support and guidance.
Q: Is MARE still hosting events?
A: At present there are no live events scheduled. We are hosting Virtual Matching Events for professionals on an ongoing basis. The Jordan’s Walk/Run for Adoption supporting MARE will be held virtually (additional details below.) Ensure you are subscribed to our e-communications to be notified of additional virtual events as they are scheduled.
Q: So what about the Jordan’s Walk/Run for Adoption sponsoring MARE? What will it look like this year?
A: The 11th Annual Jordan's Furniture Walk/Run for Adoption will be a VIRTUAL EVENT this year, allowing the opportunity to expand our community to people and businesses who may not have otherwise been involved. Just because we can't have a live event, doesn't mean we can't all be in this together and be a part of something great! Children in foster care waiting for a permanent family need us now, more than ever, and we know this community can rise to the challenge. Visit http://jordanswalkforadoption.org/ for more information.
Q: What can I expect from the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the contracted adoption agencies during this time?
A: The large majority of DCF/Contract Agency Adoption staff are working remotely, and have access to phone, email and FaceTime, with email being the most effective means of communication. Adoption staff are working diligently to conduct business as usual wherever possible, with the priority being the safety and well-being of existing foster youth and foster families. Click here to read DCF’s letter to foster/pre-adoptive parents regarding COVID-19.
Q: Can I start the process of adoption from foster care during this time?
A: Yes. DCF and contract agencies are continuing to accept applications for new foster/pre-adoptive parents. In typical times, it can take several weeks between submission of an online application and hearing back from a DCF staff person, so do not be concerned if you do not hear from someone immediately. DCF/contract agencies will process applications but will not be conducting initial home safety assessments at this time.
Q: Is online MAPP training being offered?
A: At present we are not aware of any DCF offices offering virtual MAPP training. A few contracted agencies are offering MAPP Training using virtual technology If you are already working with an agency, contact them directly about their plans for MAPP training.
Q: Can virtual interviews be conducted to complete the homestudy process?
A: Contact your family resource worker about their procedures for completing homestudies. Some interviews may be able to be completed virtually, however a license study cannot be approved at this time without an in-person homevisit.
Q: What does this mean for my disclosure meeting/transition?
A: Staff are proceeding on a case-by-case basis with decisions about scheduled disclosure meetings or transitions of a child into a new home. You should speak directly with your family resource worker about what this means for your unique situation.
Q: What is happening with court proceedings related to my pre-adoptive child’s legal case?
A: As allowed by the Supreme Judicial Court, the Juvenile Court has issued its own standing order. All trials, including Terminations of Parental Rights and adjudications, will be continued to a later date. The court will continue to accept adoption legalization packets; however, the court will not be conducting any adoption hearings until after May 4, 2020.
Q: What can I do to stay productive throughout these delays?
A: Regardless of where you are at in the adoption process, we encourage you to use this time to read and educate yourself on trauma-informed parenting. There are some excellent, free, online trainings provided by the Center for Adoption Support and Education here (https://adoptionsupport.org/education-resources/for-parents-families/free-resources-links/)
You might also consider connecting with an experienced adoptive family through MARE’s Friend of the Family Mentor program to learn from another family’s experiences, share your concerns, and build your adoption network.
And finally, don’t forget to Be a Hero and register for the Virtual 11th Annual Jordan’s Furniture Walk/Run for Adoption supporting the services that MARE provides to families and children. Regardless of where you are at in the process this is an excellent opportunity to join with others to celebrate adoption and raise awareness, while raising critical funding to continue our work during these difficult financial times. Register Here!