The Resource Family Advisory Board (RFAB) is supported in collaboration with the State of Alaska Office of Children's Services and the Alaska Center for Resource Families.
Find us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/ResourceFamilyAdvisoryBoard
VISION: The vision of the Resource Family Advisory Board is to strengthen and improve support for resource families and the State of Alaska Office of Children's Services (OCS) as we partner to care for Alaska's Children.
MISSION: Our mission is to provide education, understanding and guidance to resource families and OCS for the benefit of all through open and continuing communication with OCS workers and administration to create a better environment for all children.
1. Seek Strategies to Make Recommendations To Promote Retention and Recognition of Current Foster Homes
2. Promote and Increase Effective Communication Between Resource Families and OCS
3. Address Issues Regarding Supporting Resource Families Who Are Parenting Youth With Higher Needs.
The Resource Family Advisory Board was first established in 2011 to address a need for increased communication between the management of the Office of Children's Services and the community of foster and adoptive families in Alaska. The Board seeks to have representation from all five OCS regions. Initial projects included unsuccessfully trying to advocate for automatic clothing vouchers at the time of placement, then moving toward successful promotion of a drive to establish "starter kits" for youth coming into foster care on an emergency basis. As the RFAB began to formalize its procedures and focus, a more structured board process saw the establishment of initiatives to focus the Board's efforts and a transfer of the administrative support of the Board to the Alaska Center for Resource Families. RFAB members meet monthly by telephone or videoconference and meet twice a year face-to-face (or video-conference in times of pandemic) RFAB was featured in the CHAMPs (Children Have Amazing Parents) Playbook as an example of how a resource family advisory board can help give foster families a larger voice into decision making and influence.
In its existence, in response to feedback from foster parents, RFAB advocated for a regular place where foster parents could learn more about and ask questions about ICWA, resulting in the monthly "Let's Talk ICWA" teleconference. Recently, RFAB researched foster parent rights outlined in regulation and statute and developed the Resource Family Bill of Rights which has been published and shared with families. Currently, the Board is working on an initiative that seeks ways to support licensed foster families when they are experiencing the stress of an OCS investigation and developed (along with with OCS Licensing and Child Protective Services) a publication entitled FAQs About the Investigation of Complaints and Allegations Against Foster Homes. RFAB has also provided input on the OCS Statewide Resource Family Survey and meets semi-yearly with the OCS Director and OCS Leadership Team to provide feedback and communication regarding OCS policy and the work of the RFAB.
Meetings are held monthly on the 2nd Monday from noon to 1pm via Zoom. There is no meeting in July.
Here is more information about when, why and how to file a grievance with OCS.
PowerPoint by Community Relations Manager Chrissy Vogeley
The Board has developed a series of Frequently Asked Questions about the Investigation Process to help foster parents understand and be aware of the process.
In cooperation with the State of Alaska Office of Children’s Services, The Resource Family Advisory Board has helped establish the Resource Parent Bill of Rights.
The Alaska Resource Family Bill of Rights With Brian Headdings, Gwen Emel, and Aileen McInnis of the Resource Family Advisory Board (Click on Audio Below for Training)
Setting Up Foster and Adoptive Family Networks Around Alaska With Sabrina Owsley, Interior Alaska Foster Care Group, Handout: Setting Up A Facebook Page Instruction (Click on Audio Below for Training)