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Packing Party at partner community Temple Israel in Columbus, OH As always, thrilled to collaborate with Rob Scheer of Comfort Cases and Rabbi Sharon Mars of Temple Israel!

It's been an exciting year for Second Nurture. In March, we went national by launching our first Affiliate Branch in Columbus, Ohio. We have three dedicated partner communities that have been working closely with The Buckeye Ranch to provide outreach and training to support existing foster families and encourage more individuals to become licensed foster caregivers. We have held Introductory Sessions, Orientations, and a large community service event with our partners at Comfort Cases in which over 75 volunteers and partner agencies, including The Buckeye Ranch and the Dave Thomas Foundation, packed 300 backpacks filled with pjs, blankets, books, art supplies, toiletries, and more. All bags were donated to The Buckeye Ranch and will go to local foster youth ages 0-18.

In the next few months, Second Nurture Columbus has plans to expand our programming and our staff, and we are planning a second community-wide event in May in celebration of National Foster Care Month. Additionally, Second Nurture is in conversation with two amazing new partner communities to launch in the coming months. 2023 will be another exciting year, so stay tuned!

Susan Silverman, 2N CEO

With our new cohort in the South Bay, based at Congregation Tikvat Jacob (CTJ), we already have 10 families with 29 children. The wider CTJ community has jumped into action in support of the foster family cohort. And the powerful stories from the CTJ cohort would have you both weeping and laughing in joy.

At this point, as we developed and piloted our model, we’ve engaged 100 cohort members, about 60 of whom, at any given time, are fostering about 80 kids; we have had over 100 events including cohort meetings, foster agency intro sessions, workshops and fun outings; engaged a wide-range of volunteers from the communities; created constellations of external agency and professional support; brought our cultural materials into the life of the community— raising awareness about foster care and, in the case of religious communities, providing workshops and guidance to clergy to better integrate foster care and adoption themes into cultural and ritual life, as well as provide unique pastoral care.

Susan Silverman, 2N CEO

Hello Friends,

This month I want to pick up on the points I made last month about the ways that 2N activates best practices in real life and pays serious attention when we know there is injustice and trauma introduced by the system. Here are some current examples.

Breaking down silos:

New partnership: Connect Our Kids. COK software radically increases placements of kids with kin and extended-kin. In this partnership, once children are (re)united with these families, 2N will follow-up to mobilize the new family’s existing community in support of this family, while also reaching out to other members to step up and foster. This way we will support kinship families and re-unifications along with other foster families.

Prioritizing Primary Families:

While seeking paperwork from social services to join a Second Nurture camping weekend, a 2N family learned that the biological father of “Jonah”, their two-year-old foster son, was legally eligible to parent his son. Despite this, Jonah had not ever lived with his father and instead had been moved through several foster families.

With the help of their 2N Family Support Specialist, the foster parents advocated for Jonah's father to be considered for placement. As a step towards this goal, they requested an increase in visits between Jonah and his dad and the transfer of Jonah's services to a more accessible agency in the father's neighborhood. This is still in process.

Strengthening Out of Home Care:

Foster families have challenges like any family, not just in relation to their child/ren. One of our families has an elderly grandparent in the home who has to be cared for 24/7. If outdoor spaces can't accommodate her mobility issues, the family cannot enjoy them and the child has less outdoor time than they want for her. Our Family Support Specialist makes sure that accessible playgrounds are available to our families who need them. And one of our cohort moms is working with the city to ensure more outdoor spaces are accessible to all.

“Best Practices” must not be theoretical—just words and ideas. Families and kids have to benefit in real life. Please, friends, when you read about Best Practices for fostering—ask where and how these are meaningfully implemented. They don’t matter on paper, only in life.

Rabbi Susan Silverman, 2N CEO

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