Organization Launches New Website with Expanded Exclusive Resources and Tools
Continues to Find Quality Resource Homes for Children
SOMERSET, NJ – This year, Harvest of Hope Family Services Network, Inc. (HOH), a national faith-based organization that offers training, guidance, research, support and technical assistance to public and private entities that are involved or have an interest in foster care, marks its 20th anniversary. Today, the organization announced that it would expand its reach with new tools and resources, commemorating two decades of service to children and family.
Since its inception in 1999, Harvest of Hope has recruited 455 families that became state-approved for foster family licensing, placed more than 1,440 children in loving homes, placed nearly 300 children in their forever families, reunited 60 children with their biological families, and maintained an 85 percent annual retention rate of foster family homes.
“Families who are recruited and trained to be certified as foster parents require support throughout and beyond the certification process. While we create the networks to undertake this work, we must raise awareness so that communities and individuals can prepare themselves to provide the best support to these families,” said HOH Founder Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr.
This year, HOH will expand its digital offerings with a revamped website, adding a new feature that will offer information on national child welfare legislation and state-specific child welfare resources and statistics. In this new digital resource center, the organization will be vocal about the disproportionate representation of black children in foster care and the disparate outcomes these children face.
"Through the use of technology, HOH can expand its reach to benefit resource families across the country by providing a listing of hard-to-find resources that can immediately benefit the children in their homes,” said Ashley Trotter, HOH Director and Foster Care Specialist.
In addition to its new digital offerings, HOH continues to make strides in its Fresno15 initiative. The Fresno15 is an initiative that was adopted in July 2018 when HOH partnered with the Saint Rest Baptist Church in Fresno County, California to recruit and develop adoptive families for 15 children between the ages of 7 and 12 who have been moved more than twice. According to the California Child Welfare Indicators Project, there are nearly 2,300 children in foster care in Fresno County.
“The Fresno15 has exceeded expectations, with 17 families committing to the adoption of a child,” said Trotter. “The Fresno County Department of Social Services has confirmed that each of these families have passed the background checks, and that their homes have been approved for the placement of children.”
Already off to a great start, HOH celebrated its first Fresno15 placement in January when two brothers, ages 9 and 11, were placed in a Fresno15 adoptive home.
Moreover, late last year, HOH was invited to visit the White House to participate in a Listening Session on adoption that was hosted by the Domestic Policy Council. The information presented by HOH was so poignant that it resulted in a private invitation to meet with the leadership of the Administration for Children and Families.
“Study after study reveals the negative impact of being a foster child in America today, and that among all deprived children, black children are among those who suffer the most. How do we make the best out of this bad situation?” said Soaries. “Harvest of Hope Family Services Network, Inc. is on a mission to eliminate foster care in America by providing the best alternative – loving homes for every child in need.”
To learn more about becoming a foster parent, HOH, and its resources and services, please visit harvestofhopefamily.com.