Sibling Foster Care Neighbor to Family's signature program is providing community-based, specialized foster care to sibling groups. Special emphasis is given to achieving permanency goals for children within 12 months of placement.
There are more than 500,000 children in foster care in the United States at any given time. Studies indicate between 65% and 85% of children in foster care have at least one sibling; only an estimated 25% of these children are placed with all their siblings.
The sibling bond is unique; it may be the longest lasting relationship in a lifetime. There are strong indicators that siblings who are placed together in foster care experience higher rates of stability, a decreased length of stay in foster care, and suffer less trauma.
In 1998, Florida passed legislation (Florida Statute Chapter, 39.817) to create a pilot for sibling-group foster care. Neighbor To Family was selected as the implementation model and stands today as the premier model for sibling foster care in the country.
Independent studies were conducted by the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida and the University of Central Florida. Both studies validated the effectiveness of the model. Copies of these studies are available in the Research & Data
section of our website.
Professional Foster Care Neighbor To Family employs professional foster caregivers who receive salaries and respite time, 50 hours of annual training and 24-hour support and consultation from NTF staff.NTF foster parents are required to make regular reports on the progress of their children and their relationship with birth parents, to do outreach and mentoring for birth parents, to help coordinate therapy and medical care for children and to be an integral part of the therapeutic team that is making decisions about the future of the children. As a professional member of the team, foster parents have access to all the training and support services they need to care for sibling groups.
Adoption Neighbor To Family recruits adoptive parents for children who are available for adoption as a result of abuse, neglect or abandonment by their birth parents. Many of these children are part of a sibling group and desperately want to remain together.
At Neighbor To Family, our primary goal is to ensure that adoption gives each child a permanent, loving home. Every prospective adoptive parent completes the Model Approach to Partnership in Parenting (MAPP) training to learn the skills and tools needed to be successful in parenting this population of children.
There are no fees associated with adopting children through Neighbor To Family. Monthly stipends and medical assistance for treatment of pre-existing medical or psychological conditions may be available.
If you can provide a stable, loving home to a child, please call the Neighbor To Family office nearest you to learn more about our adoption services.
Clinical Services Neighbor To Family has one client: the family system. We employ highly qualified and skilled clinicians who involve birth parents as active participants in the treatment process, something that traditional foster care often fails to do.
Clinicians at Neighbor To Family deliver a continuum of services to children, birth parents and foster caregivers. This approach to treatment allows for more thorough and comprehensive therapeutic interventions, enabling permanency more quickly than in traditional foster care programs.
Clinical intervention occurs in four phases:
- INTAKE AND CLINICAL ASSESSMENT
- PLACEMENT STABILIZATION AND TREATMENT PLANNING
- ACTIVE TREATMENT AND REUNIFICATION PERMANANCY PLANNING
- TRANSITION AND AFTERCARE SERVICES
Family Team Conferencing The Family Team Conference brings together foster parents, birth parents, community agencies, other support systems, and the children (when appropriate) for planning based on the family's needs and strengths.
The Family Team Conference is an important part of Neighbor To Family's service model. It helps all parties develop clear and reasonable steps to reunify or seek permanency for their children. Conferences are held within the first 30 days of placement and continue at least monthly during foster placement.
Working With Birth Parents Neighbor To Family case managers and clinicians work closely with birth parents to improve their parenting skills and help them function more effectively.
Our goal is to train and encourage birth parents, and to bring a sense of balance to their lives. Our foster parents often serve as role models and mentors for the birth parents, inviting them into their homes and including the birth parents in family activities.
In traditional foster care, birth fathers are often not included in treatment planning. At Neighbor To Family, birth fathers can play a very important role in rebuilding their families.
Working With Foster Parents NTF recognizes the value of foster parents and engages them in the planning and delivery of services from initial placement until permanency is achieved.Neighbor To Family's foster parents work closely with the birth parents in caring for the children.
Foster parents often provide ongoing support after the children return home, much like a relative would for a family in need.
Neighbor To Family foster parents work hand-in-hand with NTF staff in recruitment and community outreach efforts, pre-service/in-service training, and on-going support/retention. Foster parents sharing a first-hand experience in fostering shifts the image of fostering from an undervalued position to a highly esteemed position in the community.
The "FIRST" Response
Neighbor To Family FIRST is a prevention and diversion program currently operational in Volusia and Flagler counties in Florida. It was designed to prevent the placement of abused and neglected children into foster care by providing intensive, family-centered, strength-based and solution-focused services in the homes of families in crisis.
The program provides a supportive, empowering, and respectful relationship with families to facilitate change and resolve the multiple causes of the family's distress. The ultimate goal of FIRST is to preserve family unity and promote the safety and well being of children and their families.
Initial contact with the family occurs with the Child Protective Investigator's assessment and determination of the family's eligibility for services. Services are voluntary; however, if not accepted by the family, removal of the children from the home would result. On acceptance, referral is made to the program.
An in-depth family assessment is completed by a Family Care Manager within 48 hours of initial contact. In conjunction with the family assessment, an initial family preservation plan is developed.
A support team that includes a Family Care Manager and Family Engagement Specialist is assigned to each family. The team provides intensive social work, clinical and other supportive services. The teams carry case loads of two to five families; services are generally provided for a four to twelve week period.