To increase placement stability for Colorado’s foster children through the provision of supportive goods and services to foster families.
Within the next five years, Foster Family Assist will cut foster care disruption by 50% in the State of Colorado.
Strengths-based: We understand that foster parents are the experts on their own needs. By asking the foster parent HOW we can help, instead of telling them what we will do, we give them the message that we are listening and ready to provide for our precious resources: foster families.
Inclusive: Foster Family Assist intends to offer help for every foster family in Colorado, regardless of location, size of family, or age or difficulty of their foster child.
Collaborative: This success of this intervention will depend on collaboration with Departments of Human Services, Child Placement Agencies, small businesses, community members and foster families themselves.
Sustainable: As communities become more aware of the needs of foster families, resources will increase, and reliance on support from outside funding will decrease. More local assistance in the form of babysitters/mother’s helpers/transportation help will be identified, and foster parents can share these identified resources.
Foster parent retention will increase when foster families know they can get the support they need. Getting the message out about foster care on a local level can also assist the community in recruiting additional foster parents.
Kerri Hankin has been working in the field of child welfare for over 25 years, including work with homeless families, abuse prevention, and as a caseworker with Department of Human Services. Her true love is foster care. Every day for the last 13 years, Kerri has been dreaming about how to make “the system” better for our children and families.
Not one to sit around and dream, however, Kerri was determined to put ideas into action. In 2012, she started her own foster care agency, Courage Community Foster Care. A one-woman-headed organization, Courage Community provides foster and adoptive homes for about 70 of Colorado’s children each year, and is leading the field by helping foster children stay in their foster homes until they achieve permanency over 90% of the time.
In 2017, Kerri also created Foster Family Assist, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to the goal of providing every foster family in Colorado with the help they need to be able to commit to their foster children until permanency can be reached.
Kerri believes that simple is better, and that communities have the potential to create revolutionary change when they share a common vision. We can change foster care for the better when we ask our foster families the simple question, “What do you need?” It does not take a lot of money or formal programming; it’s a matter of connecting people who want to help with those who need it.
Kerri lives in Green Mountain Falls, Colorado, and loves to hike all over this great state. When not thinking about foster care, she dabbles in slacklining and international travel. She is married and has three children.
Kerri has a Bachelor’s in Social Work from California State University, Chico, and a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Denver.