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Our May 2022 spotlight is on Foster Parents’ Night Out, an initiative of Every Child Oregon! FPNO is a monthly 4-hour program hosted by local faith communities and community partners.
- FPNO provides a much-needed break for foster parents while trained volunteers spend time caring for and building relationship with their children in a safe and nurturing environment. FPNO sites host the event during the same timeframe on the same day of the month for the entire season (i.e. 2nd Saturday of the month from 3:00-7:00 pm).
- FPNO is for ODHS foster families. Foster parents drop off their children (foster, bio and adopted) for an evening of fun while they have time to care for themselves. Children who attend range in ages from 6 weeks to 17 years old.
- All families that attend FPNO come from ODHS through a referral process. Each FPNO site has an ODHS liaison that works with them to recruit families from the foster care system to attend each month. The number of children and families that can be served at an FPNO site is determined by its number of trained volunteers.
- Types of sites
- Faith Community Based – the site exists as a ministry of the faith community and is staffed by volunteers who attend the host site faith community.
- Faith Community Hosted – a site is hosted by a faith community and is open to the volunteers from the community, regardless of faith background
- Community Based – a site is hosted by a community partner and is staffed by volunteers from the community
- Volunteer recruitment and requirements
- FPNO sites work locally with Every Child to recruit volunteers to maintain ratios of 4 children to 1 adult and 2 infants to 1 adult. In recruiting volunteers, keep in mind that children must always be with at least two unrelated adult volunteers at all times. It is also important to factor in the additional need for support staff such as kitchen, security, floaters, etc.
- Volunteers are recruited and vetted by the FPNO site. The Site Coordinator or assigned FPNO leadership (i.e. Volunteer Coordinator) will send all potential volunteers the Volunteer Application and background check form to be completed and submitted prior to receiving the FPNO training. The Site Coordinator should review the Volunteer Application thoroughly, send reference checks and receive a cleared background check for the applicant prior to giving information on training. Background checks are to be run for each volunteer every two years at minimum. Each volunteer must be trained and vetted prior to volunteering at an FPNO event.
- FPNO is much more than babysitting; it’s a place for children to develop healthy, meaningful relationships with caring adults. Providing a safe space for children requires consistency, so volunteers should commit to the full FPNO season’s monthly events (i.e. September through May). We know life happens (i.e. sickness, graduations, etc.), but having that overall commitment from your team will allow for more consistent engagement with the children and families served.
- FPNO Site Coordinator: FPNO sites are led by one or two Site Coordinators. The Site Coordinator is a high-level volunteer who is the main point of contact throughout the planning and implementation process with Every Child, ODHS, volunteers and attending families. The Site Coordinator is also the point person for foster families on the day-of FPNO events. Launching and maintaining an FPNO site requires regular communication with ODHS and the Every Child Affiliate, as well as organization and delegation of volunteer staff. The Site Coordinator will take an active role in the safety and compliance of the FPNO site, scheduling and executing monthly FPNO events, maintaining confidentiality, secure funding, and reporting to both the ODHS liaison and Every Child on a monthly basis.