An Initiative Designed to Foster Engagement, Change and Success
The Treehouse Foundation's Re-Envisioning Foster Care in America (REFCA) Movement seeks to change the culture and practice of how we support children and youth placed in the child welfare system. The REFCA Movement, which was launched by the Treehouse Foundation, the Rudd Adoption Research Program, and Friends of Children, envisions a collaborative, regional “lab” that engages individuals and organizations in a vital process of dialogue, engagement, and action over time to support change and positive outcomes for our children and youth experiencing foster care.
REFCA Movement History
Thanks to the generosity of a visionary philanthropist, the REFCA Movement was launched at the First Annual REFCA Conference on November 15, 2010. REFCA2010 engaged the participation of a multidisciplinary group of 150 dedicated stakeholders including families, advocates, social workers, youth, mental health workers, court personnel, politicians, researchers and interested community members from New England. Since that time REFCA Working Groups and additional REFCA Conferences have brought people together to stand under the banner of Shared Responsibility. Outcomes include the establishment of exciting new regional programs like the HEROES Youth Leadership Project and Project Thrive! Birth To Five . In addition, each year at the REFCA Conference we honor REFCA Champions - individuals and groups that elevate the lives of children and youth in care. The Sixth Annual REFCA Conference took place on May 20, 2015 at Holyoke Community College. Go to http://refca.net/ for more information about the Re-Envisioning Foster Care in America Movement.
Vision for REFCA
- Create a network of cross-sector collaborations on regional and national levels.
- Leverage people, dollar and idea resources to inspire widespread engagement and positive outcomes.
- Provide Americans of all ages and backgrounds with a compelling new Menu of Engagement Opportunities so they can directly support their community’s most vulnerable children.
- Encourage collaboration, investment in foster care innovation and an array of sustainable best practices that better serve children and youth in foster care.
- Invite the expertise of a vast spectrum of stakeholders, including child welfare professionals at the Department of Children and Families.
- Offer a replicable, sustainable collaborative social change model that can be implemented in other parts of the nation.
The Activities Launched by the REFCA Movement Have Resulted in
- Identifying the strands needed to weave together regional REFCA frameworks and a common youth agenda that is rooted in community engagement, shared responsibility, collaboration, and investment in innovation.
- Providing the leadership needed to broker critical conversations, key partnerships, and a shared vision.
- Creating a venue where stakeholders can identify and respond to specific regional concerns, while engaging area-specific resources from professionals to parents, community colleges to museums.
- Modeling partnership and engagement with each state’s child welfare agency as well as other sectors relating to child well-being, such as education and health