Letter: Volunteers can make real difference for foster children

Posted 3/27/20

To the editor:

Last holiday season, my office requested help on behalf of a vulnerable population — local foster children. The Department of Children and Families (DCF) was, and still is, in …

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Letter: Volunteers can make real difference for foster children

Posted

To the editor:

Last holiday season, my office requested help on behalf of a vulnerable population — local foster children. The Department of Children and Families (DCF) was, and still is, in need of volunteer case reviewers. 

As required by Massachusetts General Law, foster cases must be reviewed every six months. Case review panels include a member of the community, known as a volunteer case reviewer, along with a member of DCF Foster Care Review Unit and an administrator from the DCF area office. Volunteer case reviewers have the ability to give an honest, independent and unbiased review of each case — a vital part of the entire review process. 

I received several inquiries from constituents regarding my last posting and many went on to complete the necessary training and currently volunteer with DCF. Carol B., resident of Westport, said of her experience, “Bringing a voice to the community and participating in decision making with equal authority during the review process can make a difference in a foster child’s life — this is a particular responsibility.” She added, “Please consider being part of a panel that helps plans for the future of children in DCF care, it can be life changing”. 

A need for volunteer case reviewers remains and because foster children are placed all over the Commonwealth, every community is affected by this shortage. Please consider making a significant difference in the life of a child by volunteering. 

Each review session lasts about an hour and half and is conducted at a local DCF area office. Volunteers participate in a pre-service training provided by the Foster Care Review unit, with the expectation to serve for at least one year. 

If you are interested in participating in this initiative and would like more information or have any questions, please contact my office at (617) 722-2017 or email me at Paul.Schmid@mahouse.gov

Paul A. Schmid III

State Representative, 8th Bristol 

Westport

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