25 years of fostering over 200 Children and still going!
The Connecticut Alliance for Foster & Adoptive Families celebrates 25 years of dedicated service to children and families. We have stayed true to our mission and fostered over 200 vulnerable children. We’re proud to have worked with many loving families along the way.
Following our Mission For 25 Years
Training and mentoring foster and adoptive families
Nurturing relationships and strengthening family bonds
Promoting family safety and well-being
Encouraging partnerships with child welfare professionals and communities
Influencing legislation that benefits families and children
Dispelling adoption and foster care myths
25 Years With Dedicated Foster Families
As we celebrate this amazing milestone, we honor all of the families who opened their hearts to Connecticut’s most vulnerable children. We expressly acknowledge those foster families that shared every step of our 25-year journey.
Catherine and Gerald Hart
Over the past 25 years, Catherine and Gerald Hart have fostered 177 children of all ages while raising two daughters of their own. They have graciously agreed to share a few details from their years of personal experience.
Fostering Children of All Ages
When the Harts decided to foster only children ages 8 to 10 and older, they removed all of their infant and youth equipment and furniture from their home. This was a challenge when they received an emergency call and agreed to care for a four-year-old and an infant sibling. They responded to the emergency by pooling their available resources and creating child-friendly overnight accommodations.
Communicating With Biological Parents
The Hart’s have no problem with the DCF concept of “fostering families.” They have allowed permissive calls from biological parents. Most often contact has involved communication with a mother through phone calls or text messages. The couple has occasionally met parents for supervised visits when it didn’t violate a DCF rule.
The Harts have also received calls from relatives who shouldn’t have had access to their phone number. Catherine Hart now manages unwanted communication by protecting their contact information. She uses a dedicated text messaging app that doesn’t reveal her number. Currently, only one mother has her cell number and permission to call.
Dealing With Biological Fathers
The DCF’s Fatherhood Initiative has improved its ability to locate fathers using DNA. Still, the Harts haven’t observed any significant increase in contacts from biological fathers. Gerald Hart recalls one instance where the father was personally involved and the mother wasn’t. Based on his experience, he’s seen that when fathers are given a choice, “…they stepped right up…”
Making a Difference
When the Harts talk about their foster care experiences, you hear heartfelt love and dedication. Fostered children and their families recognize it too. When confronted with returning a child to foster care, one mother called Mrs. Hart to ask if she would be available. A former foster child expressed it best when she exclaimed, “I need my Catherine and Gerald Hart time.“