Become a Volunteer Photographer of Foster Youth

A Family For Every Child's Heart Gallery is designed to bring awareness to the foster care system and children that are in search of permanent homes. Professional photographers volunteer their time to take beautiful pictures of children presently in foster care that are waiting for their forever family. A Family For Every Child's Heart Gallery works closely with child welfare partners to coordinate these photo sessions for adoption recruitment.

The Heart Galleries can be seen everywhere: from the grocery store to your church to the car dealership and everywhere in between. The goal of our Heart Gallery is simple-to-open the mind and heart of the viewer to the idea of adoption.

A Family For Every Child is a 501(c)non-profit organization. Your entire donation is tax deductible.

A Family For Every Child promises to: 

  1. Recognize photographer in the newsletter and on the website.
  2. Give photographer an update when the child(ren) they photographed is(are) adopted.
  3. Give the photographer all information and support necessary to make this an enjoyable experience for everyone involved.
  4. Give the photographer an electronic version of the AFFEC logo that can link to AFFEC website. Photographers will be able to display this on their website so that clients and potential clients can see that you have worked with our organization.

How to join

If you would like to become a volunteer photographer, please complete the forms listed on our volunteer page, and we will get back to you with a confirmation and follow up process. 

On the volunteer page, we ask you to read over the following documents as well to make sure you are completely comfortable with all our requests. These documents direct you on picture formats, digital uploading procedures, and "best practices" for getting great photographs of our kids. 

Download the New Photographer Letter

Download the Photographers Procedure, Tips, Guidelines, & FTP information packet.

Tips for Photographers

  1. Please remember that you cannot transport the youth and/or their representatives. 
  2. You should not communicate with the youth prior to or after the photography session without the ok of their caseworker. You will coordinate your involvement with this youth through an authorized adult. 
  3. Each child you photograph was brought into custody of the State at no fault of their own. 
  4. Be respectful of each child and worth of their trust, make them feel special. 
  5. If you feel the need to pose a child, always ask permission before you touch them.
  6. Do not ask the child why they came into foster care or any other personal details of their lives.
  7. Feel free to ask them about their interests, their hobbies. Their favorite sports star, etc.
  8. These kids will blossom under a heavy dose of praise--let them know when they are doing well--offer encouragement--make the time together fun!
  9. YOU ARE NEVER TO BE ALONE WITH ANY OF THE CHILDREN YOU PHOTOGRAPH. THIS IS TO PROTECT YOU AND THEM. PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT A WORKER, FOSTER PARENT OR ADULT CARETAKER IS WITHIN EARSHOT AND EYESIGHT OF YOU AND THE CHILD AT ALL TIMES!

Contact Information

Any questions or concerns can be directed to the contact information below.

Volunteer Coordinator
A Family For Every Child
541.343.2856
877.343.2856
Fax: 541-343-2866
photos@afamilyforeverychild.org

Family Preservation Program

There are families in our community at risk for child abuse and/or neglect. These families need guidance to move on from the past and into the next chapter of their lives, learning how to make positive changes for themselves and their families.

What is the FAMILY PRESERVATION PROGRAM?

AFFEC's Family Preservation Program focuses on keeping the family unit together. We believe these early and often preventative steps can make the difference between a family successfully parenting their children and losing them to the foster care system. Effective family preservation efforts could keep many children from the trauma of entering foster care. AFFEC utilizes informal (self-referrals and community partners) and formal (DHS) referral processes, as well as AFFEC's own programs to identify families in need.

AFFEC's Family Preservation Program is an intervention and prevention program that is both culturally responsive and community-based. Through this program, parents and their children/youth become empowered to create positive and long term changes for their families.

AFFEC's Family Preservation Program utilizes mutual support (the giving and getting of help). Parent mentors lead by example to achieve personal growth, improve family functioning, and achieve parental and child/youth resilience.

Our Family Preservation and Parent Mentor program works with families to bring about constructive change through support, guidance, instruction and training. The ultimate goal is to maintain children safely at home in order to spare them the trauma of separation.

Keeping the Family Unit Together

Parents are looking for a supportive, non-judgmental environment to learn new parenting strategies and develop leadership and advocacy skills for their families.   AFFEC recognizes the strengths and knowledge of families and the key role they play in the lives of not only their own family members, but in the lives of other families on a similar journey.

AFFEC's Family Preservation Program   is a Parent Mentor Program that supports families connecting with one another throughout the community.   This program pairs parents with trained mentors who can provide support, encouragement, and information on ways to advocate for your child and family.

At present, the Family Preservation program is generally available only in Lane County, Oregon because of budget and resource limitations. We are interested in expanding the program in cost-effective ways; if you or your organization are interested in helping to expand it, please get in touch!

It Takes a Village and Neighbors Help Neighbors

Every day mentors use their time and their gifts to strengthen families and communities. What we are offering is the gift of time; a hand up rather than a handout. Money can help in many different ways as we are all aware; taking time to empower individuals and give them the tools to become better parents to a child who is part of our community is priceless. Many work hard to deal with the challenges of environments where unemployment, violence, and drugs are taking their toll. In the face of these obstacles, community residents look for the connections to vital resources to improve their odds of succeeding. How important and valuable is the simple gift of friendship? How rewarding would it be to pass on valuable life skills to a person or family in need of a hand up to the next step in life?

Parent Mentors

Matches are based on the needs expressed by the family, so each family is able to determine the kind of mentor they need.

We work with families as a team to see to it that the family is provided services and training (e.g., job training, job search assistance, housing, anger management training, and respite care). There is monthly reporting and interaction with all the members of the team. Qualitative outcomes we seek include strengthening parent-child attachment, at risk families and others marginalized by the system. The Parent Mentor Team is made up of clinical staff, case managers and Parent Mentor who provide individual and group treatment to parents, their children and other family members. Services are provided in the family's home as well as in community settings.

Donate Albums

While the donations of scrapbooking supplies has been enormous and we can never say “Thank you” enough. We are in desperate need of albums for all the great supplies and pages donated to the Heart Gallery to be placed in and given to a Foster Child.

DHS has requested pages in 8 1/2 x 11 format, we need albums specifically to accommodate this size of finished pages.

Do you have any unused albums of this size you no longer want or need, consider making a donation for this project! Albums can be directly donated to the Heart Gallery.

You may want to consider making a cash donation to help us purchase the supplies we need at this time. For only $25 we will be able to purchase an 8 1/2 x 11 album, page protectors and adhesive to complete a LifeBook and present it to a Child.

For more information contact:

  • Christy Obie-Barrett
  • Executive Director
  • 541-343-2856
  • Fax 541-343-2866
  • Gail Van Gundy 
  • LifeBook Co-Coordinator
  • 541-525-3500(call or text)

Mentor Program

Mentor Program Mission Statement

The mission of A Family For Every Child's Mentor Program is to unite foster care and at-risk youth in our community with enthusiastic, dedicated, and caring adults who can provide friendship and encouragement while supporting them through life’s various transitions, instilling independence and ultimately building long lasting bonds.

Program Goals

Since the Mentor Program’s inception in 2007, the vision of the program has been to connect youth with positive members of their community to build friendships and have role models who:

  • Provide youth with support and guidance
  • Provide the youth with someone to call and hang out  "just because."
  • Provide a potentially permanent bond for the youth.
  • Teach independent living/life skills, instill creativity, and promote the youth's self esteem.

Who We Serve

A Family For Every Child’s Mentor Program serves Oregon youth in Lane County, the greater Portland area, and other areas of Western Oregon. We serve children who are at risk and in need of permanent connections due to being in foster care or have been exposed to experience that could hinder their full potential.

How Do I Refer My Youth?

Parents, caseworkers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, foster parents... almost anyone can refer a youth! A pillar of our program is that all youth participation is voluntary -- every youth in our program is in it because they want to be and no youth shall ever be forced to have a mentor. Know a youth who needs mentor?

What Does A Mentor Do?

There aren’t any typical mentor matches as we don’t have typical youth or mentors. The beauty of A Family For Every Child’s Mentor Program is that it allows for each mentor match to be distinctive. Mentors and youth are matched based upon their mutual interests, not by numbers on a waiting list. Your mentor experience will be as unique as you are! What are your interests? What are your passions? What do you like to do to pass the time? Mentoring is so easy because all you have to do is include your youth in the things you already like to do!

How Do I Become A Mentor?

Becoming a mentor doesn’t have to be a daunting process. Most mentors are matched within six weeks of submitting their application! You’ll find that it’s easier than ever to make a difference in a youth’s life.

Sports and Outdoors Mentor Program

Designed for our male youth, the Sports and Outdoor Mentor Program makes mentoring more accessible than ever. With a focus on physical activities, lower mentor age requirement and shorter 6 month commitment period, we're breaking down the barriers of male mentoring and creating new possibilities for youth who typically wait longer for their very own mentors

Non Traditional Mentor Program

New for Fall 2019, our NTMP places our Volunteers in specific locations within Lane County. We are kicking off the new program at the Eugene Library and area middle and high schools. Volunteers will be available in the Teen Center  / Family Resource Rooms to meet with youth for homework support, conversation, play a game of cards, etc. It is our belief that organic connections will be made.  After establishing a relationship with a youth for several months, transitioning to our traditional Mentor Program is always an option.

Requirements include :

  • 19 + yrs old
  • 2-3 hours , once or twice a week
  • Complete our Volunteer application including 3 references / background check

Host Home

Why Do We Need the Host Home Program?

Here in the Eugene/Springfield homelessness is a widespread issue that many organizations have been grappling with for years. In Eugene alone there are over 300 students experiencing homelessness each year -- and these are just the students who come forward. Youth under the age of 18 are unable to access many food distribution resources, shelters, and resource centers due to their status as a minor. For those between the ages of 18 and 23, the available resources are oftentimes not appropriate and young people can find themselves interacting with populations they have not yet encountered. In order to fill this gap in resources for youth the Host Home Program acts as a safety net for young people experiencing homelessness.

How Does the Host Home Program Work?

AFFEC identifies and certifies volunteers who have space in their homes and in their hearts for a student experiencing homelessness. These Host Homes act as a layer of support by providing a student a safe and reliable home while the continue their education. While Host Home Volunteers are not considered foster parents, they do serve a mentor-like role in the youth’s life by helping him or her gain the life skills needed so they do not fall back into the life of homelessness in the future.

Who Does the Program Serve?

We serve students experiencing homelessness in Eugene/Springfield. The youth we serve are actively attending school, have no history of violence against others and are not in immediate need of medical interventions. What’s more, the program is voluntary -- no youth is ever pressured into becoming a part of the program and they understand that there are expectations should they decide to proceed and agree to those conditions. They have reached out because they want to be safe.

What are the Requirements to Become a Host Home?

Housing providers must:

  • Have an available, private or shared bedroom for the youth that has a bed, a window, and space for them to store their belongings.
  • Have at least one adult, age 26+, who permanently resides in the home.
  • Have smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Have either renters or house insurance.
  • Have an economically stable living situation.

What Support Will the Students and Host Homes Receive?

Program participants will be supported throughout the duration of their match by AFFEC and the 15th Night Network. By being connected to the network, AFFEC can help youth get their Oregon ID, SNAP benefits, clothing vouchers, transportation resources, and other necessities. It is not expected that those taking youth into their homes will take on a heavy financial burden when providing this service.

I Would Like More Information. Who do I Contact?

You can always give us a call at 541-343-2856.
You can also contact out Host Home Director by email at hosthome@afamilyforeverychild.org

Child Matching Events

What is it?

In a Child Matching Event, social workers are given the opportunity to present their child/children to an audience of home study approved families. The advantage that a Child Matching Event creates is the opportunity for a social worker to expand on and discuss their child in further detail toward families who have interest in the child.

Social Workers

 
  • Identify your child/children who you wish to present towards potential home study families. Get involved by contacting our Recruitment Coordinator for available dates.
  • Gather media (pictures, videos, audio clips, etc.) that represent your child(ren). High-quality media and a good variety are valuable towards the presentation of the child.
  • Prepare for questions that families might ask during the webinar. Review the child’s case files and identify what the child needs in a forever family. It is also important that workers share the strengths of the children along with their struggles. If possible find the contact information for others in the child’s life such as a CASA, mentor, or a foster parent who cares for them. A Family For Every Child can coordinate with these individuals to also participate in the webinar.
  • Schedule a practice event in order to test audio and ensure that the event goes smoothly the day of. At the specific date and time of the event, log on from your computer and be prepared to discuss the child you are presenting. Log on instructions and all needed info will be sent to you days prior to the event. Be prepared to answer questions about the child, as families viewing the presentation have the ability to type questions they may have.
  • Following the conclusion of the webinar, families will have the opportunity to submit their home study. Please be prepared to follow up with interested families and discuss with them if they are a good potential fit for the child, or why they may not be.

Families

Child Matching Events give families the opportunity to learn more about a child that they have some interest in. The advantage in these events comes from the ability to ask any questions towards the social worker and receive immediate responses. Further information on the child is presented by the social worker as well. This is often information that goes beyond a child’s bio.

The interaction through questions during the webinar are valuable for both families and social workers, as families are allowed to ask all potential questions anonymously and social workers can effectively provide information on their child in a time-efficient manner.

Any families who are interested in attending a Child Matching Event webinar must be a home study approved family. Only Adoption Workers and families with completed home studies will be approved to attend these events due to the personal and detailed information that will be provided about the children during the event. All home study families interested in a Child Matching Event will need to pre-register for the specific event that they wish to be involved in.

15th Night / Host Home Overview

Why we need you!

Our Host home program is an innovative and scalable effort that could move the needle for Homeless Students. It will save money and lives, but will take a team.

Reasons you should be involved!

  • Youth who are “new” to our streets are more likely to become chronically homeless if we do not intervene within 15 nights.
  • 68.4% of homeless students scored below standards, 82.3% of homeless students scored below standard in math, and 60.4% of homeless students scored below standard in science.
  • Youth that have experienced homelessness have a 50% higher chance of not having a high school diploma, than youth that have not had the experience. It is our goal to develop this program to interrupt this cycle and produce education and personal successes for 50 of these homeless youth.
  • In 2017, we had 325 Bethel-Eugene 4J youth experiencing homelessness and identified as unaccompanied minors—90 dropped out of school.
  • For every $1 spent on youth interventions that address homelessness, the community saves $4.12 according to a New Avenues for Youth study (Portland, Oregon 2010).
  • Oregon estimates that 24,000 unaccompanied youth experience homelessness each year in Oregon.
  • National studies indicate that most of these youth run away due to family conflict or abuse, while others are kicked out of their home or "thrown away‟.
  • We are getting results-The percentage of unaccompanied students compared to the total number of homeless students in the 4J and Bethel school districts dropped from 26.3% in the 2013-2014 school year to 23.7% in the 2016-2017 school year.
  • Last school year, 15th Night Rapid Access Network (RAN) Advocates sent alerts on behalf of 162 unaccompanied students with a total of 292 services and resource requested. The most common requests were for basic needs like clothing and shoes, food and shelter. As of the end of the year, 30 local, youth-serving organizations (“providers”) were responding to unaccompanied student needs via the 15th Night Rapid Access Network (RAN).

What is 15th Night?

One night on the street is too many. The 15th Night is a community-wide partnership that helps more than 480 of our Eugene-Springfield students who are navigating school and life alone, without a permanent place to spend the night.  Bringing together existing community resources, the 15th Night focuses these resources on the safety and well-being of our vulnerable Eugene-Springfield youth who do not have a parent or guardian to support them. These resource teams include at least one representative from the University of Oregon, Bethel School District, Lane County Health and Human Services, the Eugene Police Department, City Councilor Ward 8, Eugene City Manager, Lane ESD, Eugene 4J School District, as well as over 30 area nonprofits.

Our latest effort is to work with individual High schools and their feeder middle schools on creating their own internal response team for homeless youth within their school, referred to as the School Mobilization Model.  Our Host home program is at the core of engaging the school’s parent and teacher community, as well as local neighborhood groups and business, to wrap services and support all around these youth.  We believe this is a program/effort that is innovative and could be reproduced in any community.

What is the Host Home Program?

Here in the Eugene/Springfield, homelessness is a wide-spread issue that many organizations have been grappling with for years.  Many people turn to the Eugene Mission or other shelters in our community, to seek temporary housing, especially during the cold winter months. However, if you are an unaccompanied youth and you are experiencing homelessness, you do not have access to Adult Shelters, leaving youth with 7 beds at the one shelter we have for under 18, if they can get in, or sleeping on the street. Youth under the age of 18 are also unable to access many food distribution resources and resource centers due to their status as a minor.

Having a safe and stable place to call home is an immeasurably important resource that many of us take for granted. AFFEC will is providing homes for students referred to the 15th Night network, who are maintaining regular attendance at school, so they can experience this necessity, while completing their secondary education. These homes are split into two categories- short term and long term. Short term housing providers will house a youth as they enter the program, for up to 30 days, unless a bond is formed between the pair. While staying in this home, the youth will work with AFFEC to determine who can provide them with the most successful long term placement. The long term housing providers will house the youth for the duration of their high school career.

This sounds like a big commitment and it is. Housing providers are not allotted monthly stipends for supporting the youth and they assume a parental role in the relationship. However, the pair will be supported throughout the duration of their match by AFFEC and the 15th Night network, by being connected to the network.

AFFEC is licensed through the state of Oregon.  As the only licensed Host home program in the state, we have an advantage to serve all ages, all background with no geographic barriers.  Because we have successfully completed the licensing process we are also very committed to assisting other blooming Host home programs throughout the state.

The RAN technology was updated over the summer based on feedback from our community advocates and network of 30+ service providers. RAN 2.0 was successfully launched in late September and enables school specific RANs to be connected to the larger Community RAN.

The 15th Night expanded into Springfield this fall. Springfield Public Schools and the Springfield Police Department can now access the 15th Night RAN on behalf of students experiencing homelessness. Catholic Community Services, First Place Family Shelter, Whitebird Dental and the Eugene Mission have all joined the 30+ network of providers who responded in real time to the 292 alerts for help this year.

Sometimes the 15th Night Network is unable to meet a specific need of a student. This is where our Community Responder volunteers step into action. Over 50 people have volunteered receive alerts from the 15th Night when there is a need that is hard to fill like special clothing, shoes or gift cards for food.

Even students are stepping up for each other.  The Economic Justice League (EJL) for homeless and economically-challenged youth, created with in South Eugene High School.  Along with 15th Night, we are working to execute the vision of keeping kids in school and supporting those struggling with housing.  One of South Eugene’s projects is opening a drop-in center for students to get help, support, and access to resources.  This includes food throughout the school day as well as free dinners-to-go, access to computers and technology, washer and dryer, free counseling, and much more. The goal is to have this room open before school, during lunch, and after school for any student that needs support. We hope to bring in therapists, artists, performers, hair stylists, barbers, and mentors of all kinds. We plan to have Fancy Dinner nights, Hair/Makeup/Makeover nights, Open Mic/Performance nights, arts and crafts, movie and game nights, and more.

Working Together to Protect our Youth

15th Night Rapid Access Network Community Partners are working together to safeguard more than 480 Eugene-Springfield students who do not have a parent or guardian to support them, or a permanent place to call home. With thanks to their involvement, the 15th Night community movement can prevent Eugene-Springfield youth from going out on the street, and intervene quickly if they do.  This partnership includes many state / government resource and over 30 community nonprofits that all make a commitment to work together.

Refer a Mentor

Know someone who would make a great mentor? Send them our way!

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Sports and Outdoor Mentor Program

What is the Sports and Outdoor Mentor Program?

The Sports and Outdoor Mentor Program provides mentoring for youth considered at-risk and may otherwise have to wait months to be matched with a mentor because of the high need for more active volunteers. In addition, the program provides unique opportunities for at-risk children to experience participatory and spectator sports as well as the abundance of outdoor activities Lane County has to offer.

How Does the Sports and Outdoor Mentor Program Work?

You will be matched with one youth or a sibling pair whom you will mentor for the duration of your commitment. At least once per week for 2-3 hours, you will meet with your youth to engage in an outdoor and/or sports activity (we’ll match you with a youth who likes the same activities you do!). You will be responsible for scheduling a time to meet with your youth and will keep A Family For Every Child up to date with your progress with monthly activity reports. There is a 6 month commitment, however, it can be extended!

What are the requirements?

The requirements are similar to our Mentor Program and just as easy! If you fit the following criteria you can be a Sports and Outdoor Mentor to a youth in our program:

  • 19 years of age and older
  • Willing to meet with buddy 2-3 hours per week for sports/outdoor mentoring
  • Able to commit to 6 months of mentoring
  • Able to pass a background check
  • Able to provide three character references
  • Able to mentor a youth in the Eugene or Springfield area

We’re here to guide and support you through this process — it’s easier than you think!

How is this program different from the Mentor Program?

This program is for youth in our program who are not yet matched with a mentor. While some of the basics are the same, there are some key differences:

  • This program’s main focus is on sports and outdoor activities
  • The time commitment is 6 months, as opposed to 18 months
  • Youth are NOT allowed to visit their mentor’s home
  • The minimum age for mentors is 19-years-old

Online Matching Events

Our Online Child Matching Events and Online Family Matching Events utilize user-friendly and accessible technology to better match children with their forever families. Social workers present children from their caseload to an audience of adoptive families via an online webinar program.

What Types of Programs Do We Use?

We use Microsoft Word PowerPoint to highlight the children, where we arrange the presentation in a very professional and useful way.

Does This Help with Adoption?

A Family For Every Child’s Online Child Matching Events are becoming increasingly popular, and are especially helpful for children in foster care that have a harder time finding a forever family.

How Does This Work?

Online Matching Events utilize easy, simple and accessible technology to portray foster children in a professional and aesthetically pleasing manner. We use several photos of the child to portray their everyday life, personality, and activities. The social worker presents a slideshow for every family that has an interest in the child.

Why these Events are Useful

Families are much more likely to become interested in a child after they’ve seen pictures and videos that represent the child’s personality, and after they’ve heard about the child’s behaviors directly from one of the people that know the child the best; their social worker. Families love these webinars, and feel that this is a great way to “hear about [the children’s] real personalities” and they appreciate being able to “hear directly from the social workers who know the children best” (Source from an August 22nd Online Child Matching Event attendee.)

Interested In Attending?

Online Matching Event Registration

Interested in Presenting?

(Clicking the link above; it will take you to an inquiry form that they fill out that will be e-mailed to AFFEC, alerting me that they are interested in presenting during an “Online Matching Event”. The MOU will also be on this page. The inquiry form will have first name, last name, agency, e-mail, how they heard about our matching events, what month they are interested in presenting, and if they’ve presented-tycfg-d in the past. Maybe what child they’d like to present as well but this one can be an option.)