FRIENDS OF CHILDREN INC

nonprofit

Friends of Children, Inc., is a non-profit child advocacy organization dedicated to improving the lives of children in the Pioneer Valley.

Imagine…

…being eight years old, abused by the adult who was supposed to take care of you, and having to be placed for your own protection in a home in a town you have never heard of or with a family that you have never known.

…being a teenager who has been in charge of all your younger brothers and sisters because your parents were never around to provide stability and safety for their children.

…being an infant who has not yet spoken your first word but has been neglected by a parent who, herself, has never known appropriate caretaking and, as result, constantly ignores your cries.

Everyday, Friends of Children answers the call to action made by children who are in the state’s protective care. To create meaningful change for them, we need the support of community members who understand the importance of giving a child an opportunity to have their most basic needs met and to reach their full potential.

Children who enter foster care have experiences that are all too similar to Ross. As a child, you cannot begin to understand the COMPLICATED intricacies of being removed from your home and all you have are the promises of those around you that maybe one day your life will return to normal. For children who have already lost so much, this isn't enough. We need to do better.

Friends of Children is a 25 year old non-profit whose mission has always been to serve the needs and protect the rights of our community’s most vulnerable children. This means that we address their needs from all different aspects of their lives through our projects and coordinated programs.

Our Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Program serves children who are involved in care and protection cases throughout Franklin and Hampshire counties. Everyday, trained and supervised community volunteers from all walks of life work to promote the needs of children who are being shuffled around in an overburdened child welfare system. Their best interest advocacy is focused on educational needs to medical needs, and most importantly the need for healthy relationships and a permanent home and connections.

More and more CASAs encounter older youth who will not be going home or be adopted and are in need of mentorship as they face the challenge of transitioning into young adulthood without guidance. For this reason we will be adopting the National CASA’s Fostering Futures curriculum, in order to give specialized training to our volunteers who wish to create this invaluable and meaningful connection with a child. Foster youth who do not create lasting relationships they can depend on are at increased risk of drug use, incarceration, homelessness, and unemployment. Our goal is to beat these statistics by providing them a life line.

The Foster Dignity project engages both community businesses and individuals in helping children in foster care be…well, just kids. Foster Dignity provides backpacks at the start of the school year, weather appropriate clothes along with gifts during the holidays, funds for extracurricular activities throughout the school year, and financial and material support when a young person is ready to go out on their own. Foster Dignity is about providing support for children everyday, for any reason.

Our Seeing Their Voices multimedia project was originally designed in 2008, and was displayed at the State House in Boston as a testament to our commitment to change. This project provided a platform for children in foster care to share their experiences, through writing and photography, with the general public, service providers, policy makers, and elected officials who hold their lives in their hands. Now, 6 years later, we are working to make this program a foundational outlet for public education. By holding two new classes fir foster youth in this upcoming year, we will encourage and support their individual empowerment, and will establish their body of work as a permanent testament to their experiences and struggles.

Friends of Children hears the call to action by children who fly under the radar until tragedy puts them in the public eye. We reach out to others to join us to create a constituency for these vulnerable children who are embroiled in systems that need more. Help us make sure that the true needs of individual children inform your actions to promote change that helps them be their best selves.

Foster care is merely a circumstance for many children; let’s ensure that it doesn’t become a defining characteristic of their life!


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Organization Information

FRIENDS OF CHILDREN INC
245 RUSSELL ST STE 22
HADLEY, MA 01035

Phone
(413) 586-0011

Web
http://friendsofchildreninc.org/home.html

Email
jane@friendsofchildreninc.org

Mission
Friends of Children, Inc., is a non-profit child advocacy organization dedicated to improving the lives of children in the Pioneer Valley.

EIN 222952288

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