Friday, May 22, 2015

Foster Mom Recruits New Foster Moms & Dads for RI Kids Needing Foster Care

The generosity of the Billy Andrade-Brad Faxon Charities for Children has enabled  Family Service of Rhode Island to hire an experienced foster mother to assist in recruiting loving homes for Rhode Island’s children in need.

Logo for foster care“May is National Foster Care Month, and we’re pleased to announce that, thanks to the Andrade-Faxon Charities for Children, we recently hired a foster mom to help us find homes for Rhode Island’s children in need,” said Margaret Holland McDuff, agency CEO. “Elaine Gabellieri, of Cranston, and her husband have welcomed foster children into their home for years. When a potential foster parent speaks with her they are talking to an expert who deeply understands the day-to-day life of a foster parent.”

Foster parenting is a source of joy for Elaine and her husband. “My husband and I first became foster parents five years ago when we learned that there were many children in Rhode Island looking for loving homes,” she said. “We found it a great joy to help transform a child who needs love and support into a happy, healthy and thriving individual. Being a foster parent is very fulfilling. And our older kids enjoy it too! They love helping out, and it’s a learning experience.”

Any adult in Rhode Island is eligible to become a foster parent. “Foster parents can be single, couples, or married, and Family Service of Rhode Island is particularly outreaching to potential LGBTQ foster parents,” she said.

Foster parents receive tax-free dollars to support the placement, free medical care for the child, a clothing allowance for the child, training and 24/7 support. More details are available by clicking here.

Some foster parents prefer caring for children who only need a short-term stay, while others look at foster parenting as the road to a permanent relationship, even adoption. “We match the needs of the children with foster parents who are committed to meeting their needs,” she said.

Anyone interested in learning more may call her at 401-331-1350 ext. 3313 or email her at While children of all ages are in need of loving homes, there is a particularly strong need for families to open their hearts to older children.

Adding a foster parent “voice” to the agency’s foster parent recruitment efforts reflects best practices, said Greg Wright, who heads foster care recruitment at Family Service of Rhode Island. “When a potential foster parent calls he or she can speak with someone who lives the life of a foster parent each and every day. Who better to speak with?”

Family Service of Rhode Island is a statewide non-profit human service and education organization. More information is available at

VFW Honors Family Service of RI Therapist

Family Service of Rhode Island’s Jeanne Sherman, MEd, CAGS, LMHC, has been selected to receive the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Community Service Award during ceremonies May 28 in Warwick.

Jeanne Sherman photoMs. Sherman, of Warwick, is an Army veteran and former sergeant who provides therapy for military and veteran families through Family Service of Rhode Island’s Children’s Treatment and Recovery Center.  The center is funded by a federal Substance Abuse Mental Health Services grant through the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.  Family Service of Rhode Island is the network’s regional site.

In addition, Ms. Sherman has led a community drive to collect personal care items for needy veterans and has been a featured speaker at a conference on adapting Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for military children and adolescents.  In March she participated in the first “Regional Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Event,” leading a workshop entitled “Understanding the Impact of Deployment,” which covered pre-deployment, sustainment, post-deployment and possible re-deployment,  and their effects on family members.

She is one of only four therapists in Rhode Island nationally certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

 “Jeanne embodies the continuing commitment to service of our veterans,” said John Cesana, VFW state commander.  “Her work at Family Service of RI providing therapy for military children is greatly needed and appreciated, as are all of her commitments to helping the men and women serving our nation in the military.”

An awards ceremony will take place on Thursday, May 28, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel, 2081 Post Road, in Warwick.

“Congratulations to Jeanne and thank you for your service in the military and for your work caring for military and veteran families in Rhode Island,” said Margaret Holland McDuff, CEO of Family Service of Rhode Island.

“Jeanne has raised the bar in developing partnerships to serve our military and veteran families,” said Susan Erstling, Ph.D., Family Service of Rhode Island senior vice president who oversees the agency’s child trauma work.

Family Service of Rhode Island is a statewide non-profit human service and education organization.  More information is available at

Wednesday, May 13, 2015