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A program of FACES of Virginia Families in partnership with the Virginia Department of Social Services

Overview

Trailblazers is the FACES of Virginia Families’ mentoring program to support foster, adoption, and kinship parents as they become caregivers to children recently placed in their homes. The program is implemented in partnership with local departments of social services.

Objectives

Families caring for children who have experience abuse, neglect, or abandonment report needing connections with other families, especially during the first months of their caregiving experience. The Trailblazer objectives are:

  • Train seasoned families on the skills and practices necessary for effective mentoring through a one-day training.
  • Facilitate relationship development through the Trailblazers Match Celebration for Trailblazers and new caregivers within 3 months of the initial Trailblazers training.
  • Support continued nurturing and supportive contact between Trailblazers and new caregivers to initial 6 months following the Trailblazers Match Celebration event through the FACES Ambassador program.

Activities

Trailblazers has 6 main process steps:

  1. Develop relationship with local DSS staff person and secure their support and commitment to the Trailblazers program.
  2. Provide materials for use by local departments in recruiting Trailblazer participants and new caregivers for participation in the program.
  3. Schedule with local department staff initial Trailblazers training for approximately 4 hours.
  4. Schedule and host with local department the Match Celebration event.
  5. Utilize FACES Ambassadors as the routine contact for Trailblazers to encourage their efforts with families.
  6. Regularly receive evaluations from Trailblazers, Caregivers, Ambassadors, and local staff on the program.
  7. Conduct evaluation after the 4 hours Trailblazer training to include local staff and Trailblazers.
  8. Conduct evaluation at the Match Celebration to include local staff, Trailblazers, and Caregivers.
  9. Receive monthly Trailblazers reports from Ambassadors.

Evaluation

Evaluation of the program is done throughout the process. Listed below are the main evaluative steps.

  1. Conduct evaluation after the 4 hours Trailblazer training to include local staff and Trailblazers.
  2. Conduct evaluation at the Match Celebration to include local staff, Trailblazers, and Caregivers.
  3. Receive monthly Trailblazers reports from Ambassadors.
  4. Receive annual evaluation report from local staff.
Who are Trailblazers?

Each sponsoring locality selects their own trailblazers from the families working with their agency. In most localities the Trailblazers have the following qualifications:

  • Two or more years experience as a successful and respected resource parent.
  • 24 hours or more of in-service training.

What is expected of a Trailblazer?

Each sponsoring locality works with FACES of VA Families to establish local expectations which are consistent with the statewide initiative approved by the FACES of VA Families’ Board of Directors.

NewFound Families

Adoption, Foster, and Kinship Association
P.O.Box 85
Ashland, VA 23005
877-823-2237
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