FOSTERING HOPE INITIATIVE
Building Supportive, Nurturing, Safe Communities
Catholic Community Services was founded in 1938 to provide supports and services to vulnerable individuals and communities, so that all may thrive and reach their potential. The Fostering Hope Initiative (FHI) is a neighborhood based, collective impact initiative designed to promote the positive development of children, strengthen families and build community. One key assumption of Fostering Hope’s theory of change is “Safe, stable nurturing relationships are the key social determinant of optimum child development”.
The FHI incorporates the Five Protective Factors identified by the Center for the Study of Social Policy into all their activities: Parental Resilience; Social Connections; Concrete Support in Times of Need; Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development; and Social and Emotional Competence of Children.
Fostering Hope Initiative (FHI) views their work as a social movement, which is building on neighborhood assets, connecting families, strengthening communities, and improving wellbeing focusing on prevention. Catholic Community Services serves as the backbone organization and lead partner for this Collective Impact approach and helps to coordinate wraparound family supports. Using a lens of abundance, FHI, neighbors, and partners, connect community resources with needs, building on current community assets and partners’ strengths, rethinking systems and repurposing spaces.
FHI began exploring a Pay for Success model, which would identify the impact of FHI programming, including reduction of demand on the foster care system, and quantify the financial savings to the foster care system. The Pay for Success model would then create a funding mechanism to re-invest a portion of the savings back into the FHI model to further the impact and ultimately reduce the number of children who enter the foster care system or experience abuse and/or neglect.
Fostering Hope Initiative was selected as a NOW Bright Spot because of its work to address the needs of children and their families, through an asset-based, trauma informed approach. Fostering Hope is a neighborhood-based collective impact initiative designed to strengthen families, mobilize neighborhoods and promote neighborhood wellbeing for all.
LEADERSHIP & COOPERATIVE GOVERNANCE
Fostering Hope (FHI) uses a placed-based collective impact approach. Community Resource Centers and local school facilities provide the hubs where families and partners work collaboratively to align existing social services, education, health stakeholders and the business community to support children and their families and build stronger community networks.
Community Cafés, held within local communities, provide opportunity for the community to participate in the leadership and shaping of neighborhood resources and activities.
FHI participates on many community coalitions to align efforts to address community needs. At times Fostering Hope functions as the backbone organization and at other times it is a coalition member.
FHI’s leadership looks to build on existing assets and processes, joining others in efforts for improvement.
FHI has influenced several policies in Oregon to reduce barriers to services for families in need.
Community engagement is central to Fostering Hopes services.
Fostering Hope Neighborhood Initiatives are place-based. Services and actions of each facility are determined by the neighborhood, resulting in each being individualized and responsive to the specific community.
Engagement of families and communities occurs in multiple ways, through community cafés, outreach of community workers, and input and feedback from individuals and families receiving services.
A collective impact model, with alignment of community partners and services is embraced by Fostering Hope Leadership and noted as a key to its success.
HOW IS SUCCESS MONITORED & ADJUSTMENTS MADE?
With focus on building safe, nurturing, and supportive communities, one of the indicators Fostering Hope is focused on is the number of volunteer hostings for respite services for children whose parents are in temporary crisis. Supporting and helping families build safe, supportive, nurturing relationships is one of Fostering Hope’s goals.
Fostering Hope neighborhoods set their own goals with the assistance of the Neighbor Connector.
Using the collective impact model, shared visions and goals are set with the many collaboratives in which Fostering Hope participates. A FHI Executive Council comprised of cross sector partners reviews data, monitors progress and sets metrics and goals.
EQUITY, ADVERSITY & THE EXPERIENCE OF TRAUMA
Fostering Hope has a prevention focus, with the goal of supporting families to prevent and limit adversity. However, recognizing that many of Fostering Hope families experience the impact of adversity, poverty, inequity and trauma, they take a trauma informed approach to their work. Building resiliency within and among the community is the focus of Fostering Hope.