Long known as a leader in providing pre- and post-adoption counseling services to families in the region, Children’s Aid and Family Services will soon be expanding its expertise statewide. The state’s Department of Children and Families has awarded the agency a new grant to provide Adoption and Kinship Legal Guardianship Clinical Services throughout the state. “This is a much-needed service for families formed by adoption and Kinship Care,” says Shavonda E. Sumter, President and CEO. “Children’s Aid and Family Services is honored to have been selected and help families throughout New Jersey.”
Adoption and Kinship Legal Guardianship Clinical Services provides in-home, evidence-informed, family-focused clinical services to youth and their pre-and post-adoptive families within the state’s child welfare system. It supports attachment and family formation, helping to reduce the trauma that may be associated with the separation and loss adoptees often experience. The goal of the program is to strengthen family functioning and support permanence through parent education, psychotherapy and advocacy. The program works with children and youths in New Jersey ages 5 to 21 and their caregivers. The typical length of treatment is about six months.
“We aim to provide a holistic approach to our work and will collaborate with partners throughout the state to ensure that the children can thrive while living with their respective families.”
Clinical Director Lisa Duff, who has a long history of direct practice, clinical supervision and a wealth of knowledge and skills in adoption support, will manage all aspects of the program in northern New Jersey, guiding clinicians and supporting families as they address complicated and emotional issues that arise through the adoption process. Rebecca Gallese, an experienced clinician with certifications in adoption treatment, has been hired to manage the program in the southern part of the state. The central region will be shared among both directors.
“We aim to provide a holistic approach to our work and will collaborate with partners throughout the state to ensure that the children can thrive while living with their respective families,” says Jo Ponticello, Vice President, Children’s Services.