Welcome to the Maryland Resource Parent Association

Providing the best support services to Resource Parents of all kinds, including Foster, Adoptive and Kinship parents.

COVID-19 Resources

Find resources that we’ve posted to assist Resource Parents in Maryland as they navigate COVID-19.

The MRPA does not have formal membership.

There are no fees of any kind to enjoy our resources. They are freely available to all Resource Parents!  You are welcome to attend our Zoom sessions and to utilize anything you find on our website. We’re glad you found us and look forward to assisting in your journey as a Resource Parent.

So…. how do you get involved?

Blog Notifications

Sign up to receive our Blog posts and notifications by email HERE.

Facebook

Watch our Facebook page for notifications of events, policy updates, and more.

First Tuesday

Attend a First Tuesday session. Schedules are right below!

Download Library

Review docs we’ve made available to our audience to find resources you need.

Still Have Questions?

 Contact us by email, we’d be happy to assist.

Resource Parent Surveys

Resource Parent Training Opportunities

Watch here for notifications of a new series of webinars called ‘First Tuesday’, where we will host a special learning seminar on the first Tuesday evening of each month at 8pm. Make plans to join us each month, and watch our website and Facebook for notifications of that month’s topic!

MRPA Trainings & Webinars

Closed

First Tuesday 3/2/21: Birth Family Connections with Kim Stevens, NACAC

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMocuGqqT4pHtRudWYyORIBIp1hxCoKToe6

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

About Our Trainer

BIO: Kim is a program manager at North American Council on Adoptable Children, where she works on a number of projects that support foster, adoptive, guardianship, and kinship children and families. Her duties include legislative and family advocacy, policy analysis and recommendations, curriculum development, training and capacity building, technical assistance for support and advocacy organizations, and youth empowerment activities. She also contributes to Fostering Families Today and Adoptive Families magazines, as well as NACAC’s quarterly Adoptalk newsletter on a regular basis.

Kim was honored as an Angel in Adoption in 2017.

In her 29 years of child welfare work, Kim has provided training and consultation on child welfare, foster care, adoption, parenting, positive youth development, advocacy and leadership, trauma and recovery, and youth permanency issues both nationally and internationally.

She and her husband, Buddy have six children, four of whom were adopted as older children from the public foster care system.

Her Role at NACAC: I provide numerous training sessions, webinars, and consultation sessions for parents, youth, and professionals on children welfare related topics, aimed to support families and increase positive outcomes for children.

First Tuesday 2/2/21: Discuss Maryland DHS, Social Services & MRPA Survey

Click HERE for presentation files.

 

The survey results are found HERE. This link will download the results.

During this Zoom meeting, Moderators: MRPA President Rob Huddler and Executive Director Arnie Eby will discuss the findings and encourage discussion with resource parents about the results.

Register for the Zoom call here:  https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwrdu6hrD0jHtyYOL4WIBwv4bEoJz-lonOp

If you have a particular question for the moderators about the survey and results, submit them here in advance of the session:

  • Your Info

    Your name and contact info will not be submitted with your question! We only gather it in case we need to follow up with you regarding your question. All submissions will be kept anonymous.

Questions to consider before the session….

These emerged as questions and themes in the survey results. If any of these are of particular interest to you, ask about it on the survey for the session!

  • Is there a need for more localized resources that are specific to your jurisdiction?
  • Do you know folks locally? If not, would you like to network more with those in your area?
  • What ideas do you have for connection during these times of social distancing?
  • Is there information that you wish was on the MRPA website that is not present currently?
  • Is there anything currently preventing you from getting involved with the various support organizations?
  • Are there resources we can offer to help build relationships with the family of origin? Trainings, helpful ideas, etc.?
  • In what ways would you like for us to communicate with you?
  • Would you like for your information to be available to other Resource Parents?
  • In what ways would you like the MRPA to advocate for you and your children?
  • If you are a kinship parent, what unique needs would you like us to address for you?

First Tuesday 1/5/21: Josh Kroll of the NACAC - Adoption Tax Credits: What Adoptive Parents Need to Know

Click HERE for presentation files.

 

  • Zoom Webinar

On January 5, 2021 the MRPA will host a webinar with Josh Kroll with the NACAC, the North American Council on Adoptable Children. Learn more about this organization here.

Topic

Josh will share his expertise in the area of tax credits – what exists, how to set them up, and how to gain the most benefit from them as an adoptive parent.

Participants will learn the steps they need to take to file for the U.S. federal adoption tax credit. The focus will be on filing for 2020, but will also cover applying for the credit for adoptions as far back as 2017. Presenter Josh Kroll will explain what parents need to do to take advantage of the credit. Key points include that the credit is not a refundable credit for 2020 and that parents who adopt children who receive adoption assistance/adoption subsidy benefits do not need to have adoption-related expenses to claim the credit. The session will focus on families who adopted children with special needs from foster care but will be applicable to all adoptive families as well.

When & Where?

  • January 5th, 8pm – 9:30pm
  • Via Zoom, call info will be emailed to you after registration.

Mr. Kroll’s photo courtesy of LinkedIn.

12/15/20 Q&A with Josh Kroll of the NACAC - Submit YOUR Questions Here!

Zoom Webinar

On 12/15 the MRPA will host a webinar with Josh Kroll with the NACAC, the North American Council on Adoptable Children. Learn more about this organization here.

Topic

As a follow up to the December 1st session on the state laws around adoption, subsidies and financial support available to Maryland’s Resource Parents, Josh will return to answer your specific questions on the topic!

Submit your question below. Your name and contact info will not be shared, that is just being gathered so we have it in case follow up is needed. Your questions will be entirely anonymous.

When & Where?

  • December 15th, 8pm – 9:30pm
  • Via Zoom, call info will be emailed to you after registration.

Mr. Kroll’s photo courtesy of LinkedIn.

Register in advance for this meeting here:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZctfuuqqToiGdSmMpwdcHh_yv6B78Huf6EU

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email from Zoom containing information about joining the meeting.

 

Submit Your Question Here

  • Your Info

    Your name and contact info will not be submitted with your question! We only gather it in case we need to follow up with you regarding your question. All submissions will be kept anonymous.

First Tuesday 12/1/20: MRPA Adoption Assistance with NACAC's Josh Kroll

Click HERE for presentation files.

Zoom Webinar

On 12/1 the MRPA will host a webinar with Josh Kroll with the NACAC, the North American Council on Adoptable Children. Learn more about this organization here.

Topic

Josh is an expert on the state laws around adoption, subsidies, and financial support available to Maryland’s Resource Parents. He’ll share vital information with the group, and will be available for Q&A.

When & Where?

  • December 1st, 8pm – 9:30pm
  • Via Zoom, call info will be emailed to you after registration.

Mr. Kroll’s photo courtesy of LinkedIn.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Video and handouts from past sessions are found HERE.

Online Training Opportunities

Closed

Child Welfare Academy Spring Virtual Resource Parent Conference Sat 4/17

Just a quick note to let you know that our Spring Virtual Resource Parent Conference will be on Saturday April 17, 2021 from 8:30am-3:30pm (5 hours of training credit, 2 Behavior/Discipline workshops offered).

Registration is now open! Attached is the flyer with details around the Keynote, and breakout sessions. Parents must have an account in our new system in AbSorb to register, so I can help them if they have not set that up yet. Each licensed resource parent much register separately, even if they plan to watch together on one device. Informal Kinship Providers are also welcome to attend, and must create a family account as well.

Here is the website for the conference:

https://theinstitute.umaryland.edu/our-work/ruth-young-center-for-maryland/child-welfare-academy/conference/

I am happy to answer any questions you may have!

Laura Teetermoran, LCSW
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Resource Parent Training Program Manager

Child Welfare Academy
The Institute for Innovation and Implementation
University of Maryland, School of Social Work
P| (410)-706-0721 E| lteetermoran@ssw.umaryland.edu
525 W. Redwood Street, Baltimore, MD 21201
https://theinstitute.umaryland.edu
Having technical difficulties? Email The Institute HelpDesk

Spring 2021 Child Welfare Academy Parent Training Calendar (PDF)

Be sure to review the many, many training opportunities that are coming up for Spring, 2021!

Download the schedule here.

Free Online Safety Workshops - Preventing Child Abuse

There has been a staggering increase in online child sexual abuse and exploitation in the U.S. and other countries since the beginning of the pandemic:

  • “Tips to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the clearinghouse for such information in the United States, nearly doubled from 6.3 million in the first half of 2019 to 12 million through June of this year. Reports of online enticement similarly spiked during that timeframe, from 6,863 to 13,268.” in The Herald News
  • “Through Oct. 9, New Jersey had received 5,251 reports of online child exploitation, a 75% increase from 2,996 at the same point last year, said Lt. John Pizzuro, commander of the state police’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.” in North Jersey.com
  • “Alarmingly, the report notes a rise in the amount of self-produced CSAM online, created by children who are spending more time online as a result of the lockdown.” In Info Security Magazine
  • “In the Philippines, cases of online child sex abuse have tripled amid the pandemic. Officials and activists told the media that the problem worsened during the country’s lockdown period as families struggled to earn a living while children have been out of school and spending more time online.” in The Asean Post

Child sexual abuse is a preventable public health problem.

Educating parents, caregivers and trusted adults to the risks, and giving them tips on how to protect the kids in their life is a simple step we can take to address the issue. Our Maryland Essentials for Childhood partner, No More Stolen Childhoods is providing free online trainings to educate adults to the risks and sharing action steps for parents and other caregivers to take to prevent child sexual abuse before it occurs. Please share the online safety webinars with parents, providers, and other community members who can learn themselves and help to get the word out to others. You can use the provided flyers or simply share the link to the website page.

NMSC is providing 4 sessions scheduled in early November, let’s fill them!

Register for these online classes HERE.

 

Flyers – Click to View or Print

Keeping Your Kids Safe Online

Keeping Your Tweens Safe Online

Resource Parent Training Website

Access the Resource Parent Training Website HERE

We are excited to announce that the new Resource Parent Training website and catalog are now available!

Workshops from July ’20 onward are continually being added, so check back regularly to see which are open for registration.

Create Your Account

If you are a resource parent and you have not yet created an account in the Ideas@theInstitute LMS (Learning Management system):

  • Please use the link below to create your new profile. Upon clicking the link, participants will be asked to complete the sign-up form associated with the link which designates that you are Approved Status for Resource Parent training access.
  • Please create profiles for each individual if you are part of a couple. Only one account can be created per email address.
  • Click here to create your new profile: https://theinstitute.myabsorb.com?KeyName=ResourceParents

Already Have An Account?

Instructions for resource parents who ALREADY created a new account in Ideas@theInstitute

  • If you already have an account set-up in Ideas@theInstitute, please contact the help desk by email or chat to have your Resource Parent status verified and added to your profile. After this process has been completed, you will then have access to Resource Parent trainings.
  • Email the Help Desk at theinstitutehelp@ssw.umaryland.edu and put Resource Parent Approved Status in the subject line and make sure your name and work email are included in the body of the email.

General Instructions

Once you are logged into the website, you will first be asked to complete an initial “course” which is simply an introduction to the program.

Once that is completed, you will see this screen below. The catalog will be available by clicking the link on the right hand side under RESOURCES:

If you need assistance you can email the Help Desk at theinstitutehelp@ssw.umaryland.edu or you can contact the Help Desk by LIVE CHAT. The Help Desk is available Monday – Friday from 9am to 5pm ET.

Access the Resource Parent Training Website HERE

Maryland KISS (Kids in Safety Seats)

Sign up for Video car seat assistance to help you with getting car seats installed correctly.

Visit this link to find a time.

Keeping Resource Parents In the Know

MRPA Community News

Updated Maryland DHS Policy on Visitation

In light of the upward trend in Covid-19 cases in our state, the MRPA recently made a request to the Maryland DHS to consider a 60-day-or-more suspension of the State's requirement for in-person visits between foster children and their biological families. As a result...

2020 Census: Count All Kids

The 2020 Census is complete as of October, but we’ve left this resource on our site for reference.

“The Count All Kids Campaign is a public outreach effort to working with advocates, state and local policy makers, complete count committees, service providers, and others to persuade families with young children to fill out the census questionnaire and make sure they include all their children.”

Together We Celebrate National Adoption Month 2020

In 1995, President Bill Clinton expanded what had been ‘National Adoption Week’ to encompass the entire month of November, during which we honor and celebrate the achievements of adoptive parents. MRPA celebrates resource parents of all kinds, every day, and in November we pay special homage to adoptive parents across Maryland who are making life better for the children in their care.

Maryland 2020 Adoptive Parents of the Year

During this Thanksgiving Week we are honored to share the winners of the ‘Maryland Adoptive Parents of the Year’ awards. They were each nominated by their Jurisdiction for outstanding contributions, and we sincerely thank each and every one for their tireless work and dedication to the welfare of children.

Follow us here and on Facebook, as we’ll be sharing more award winners on Tuesday and Wednesday leading up to Thanksgiving day.

And now… drum roll,please!… we present the award winners! Appropriately, click on the ‘heart’ to view their complete nomination.

The following is the nomination that was received for these adoptive parents for the 2020 Adoptive Parents of the Year.

About the Nominees

Nominee Name: Shelia Connor, Columbia, Maryland

  • Years of Service: 2
  • Adults in Household: 1
  • Children in Household: 3

Nomination Details

Jurisdiction: Howard County Department of Social Services

Shelia Connor has been a resource parent with the Howard County Department of Social Services since January 2018. She has supported Howard County DSS by providing care and support for infants and children under age 5 placements. She assists HCDSS with maintaining birth family connections through communication and family visitation. Recently she adopted one of the children in her home and continues to foster the two other children placed in her home.

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The following is the nomination that was received for these adoptive parents for the 2020 Adoptive Parents of the Year.

These families were nominated together.

About the Nominees

Nominee Names: William and Deborah Devlin, Frostburg, MD

  • Years of Service: 22 Months
  • Adults in Household: 2
  • Children in Household: 1

Nominee Names: Mike and Lisa Nasser, Cumberland, MD

Years of Service: 4 years

Adults in Household: 2

Children in Household: 3

Nomination Details

Jurisdiction: Allegany County DSS

ACDSS nominates the Devlin and Nasser family.

Both have adopted children (teenagers) whom are biologically brothers. Last year we nominated Caitlin Blough who adopted the teen sister of these brothers. We honor the Devlin, Nasser, and Blough family for commitment to this children continuing to be brothers and sisters. They have included them in so many ways through celebrations of life and vacations and just simple sleep overs. These families have also assisted this sibling set in meeting with their biological grandmother whom lives a distance away. These two families we are honoring this month as well Caitlin from last year have gone above and beyond to instill these kids know they are loved , they have a home, and they didn’t have to say goodbye just hello to new chapter.___(Plus that teens are adoptable!)_

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The following is the nomination that was received for this adoptive parent for the 2020 Adoptive Parents of the Year.

About the Nominee

Nominee Name: Sandra Beulah, Federalsburg, Maryland

  • Years of Service: 5
  • Adults in Household: 2
  • Children in Household: 2

Nomination Details

Jurisdiction: Caroline County DSS

Sandra Beulah welcomed 2 children into her family this past year. These children were accepted as part of her immediate family as well as her extended family and have been included in family activities, holidays, and celebrations since they were first placed with her. She also understood that maintaining a relationship with the children’s biological family would be the best way to foster these children into becoming healthy and well-rounded young adults, so she mediated an open adoption agreement with the birth parents so there would always be a connection. Sandra has always been a good listener and stays in tune with her children. She feels strongly that the children should always have a voice in her home. She involves them in any community activities that interests them, as well as church activities and other adventures that the kids find fun to do. Sandra is truly devoted to these children. Even when she experienced a health crisis of her own, she made sure the children were taken care of and that the adoption would still take place. She never wavered in her dedication to her two children. Caroline County DSS is proud to nominate Sandra Beulah as their 2020 Adoptive Family of the Year.

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The following is the nomination that was received for these adoptive parents for the 2020 Adoptive Parents of the Year.

About the Nominees

Nominee Name: Yellot (Fitz) and Kimberly (Kim) Hardcastle, Baltimore, Maryland

  • Years of Service: 5
  • Adults in Household: 2
  • Children in Household: 5

Nomination Details

Jurisdiction:  Baltimore County DSS

Theme: “Engage Youth: Listen and Learn”

The Hardcastle family has been devoted foster parents for 5 years. They will be adopting two siblings in November 2020 that have been in their home for over four years. In addition to raising their three birth children, Mr. and Mrs. Hardcastle have accepted the siblings as their own children. They have developed positive relationships with the children’s birth family and with the adoptive family of several of the children’s siblings and ensure that they remain in contact with their birth family. The Hardcastles are a loving couple who have worked tirelessly to meet the unique needs of each sibling. They have advocated for the children to receive appropriate services and involved them in community activities, such as soccer and dance. Mr. and Mrs. Hardcastle have always displayed a positive attitude, even during difficult points in the case. The Hardcastles deserve to be honored for their love and dedication to the siblings.

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The following is the nomination that was received for these adoptive parents for the 2020 Adoptive Parents of the Year.

About the Nominees

Nominee Name: Nicole and Jason Safell, Silver Spring, Maryland

  • Years of Service: 1.5
  • Adults in Household: 3
  • Children in Household: 2

Nomination Details

Jurisdiction: Montgomery County

Theme: “Engage Youth: Listen and Learn”

Mr. and Mrs. Saffell are very dedicated foster parents. They recently adopted a young lady who had been in care for over 4 years. She had multiple placements and quickly settled in to the Saffell home upon arriving. They are willing to put up with a lot and did not let any of this youth’s past experiences overwhelm them. She was not used to being in a home that would let her stay and make the home her forever home if she wanted to do so. The youth tested their limits, but they never gave up on her. They have provided a safe and stable environment for this young lady to thrive in. Their adoption finalized in July of this year and since then have taken another replacement of a teenager who they are providing a secure and safe environment for as well. They don’t let anything phase them and they roll with the flow, not matter what comes their way. They are very committed to fostering and enjoy working with older youth.

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The following is the nomination that was received for these adoptive parents for the 2020 Adoptive Parents of the Year.

These families were nominated together.

About the Nominees

Nominee Names:  William and Deborah Devlin, Frostburg, MD

  • Years of Service: 22 Months
  • Adults in Household: 2
  • Children in Household: 1

Nominee Names:  Mike and Lisa Nasser, Cumberland, MD

Years of Service: 4 years

Adults in Household: 2

Children in Household: 3

Nomination Details

Jurisdiction: Allegany County DSS

ACDSS nominates the Devlin and Nasser family.

Both have adopted children (teenagers) whom are biologically brothers. Last year we nominated Caitlin Blough who adopted the teen sister of these brothers. We honor the Devlin, Nasser, and Blough family for commitment to this children continuing to be brothers and sisters. They have included them in so many ways through celebrations of life and vacations and just simple sleep overs. These families have also assisted this sibling set in meeting with their biological grandmother whom lives a distance away. These two families we are honoring this month as well Caitlin from last year have gone above and beyond to instill these kids know they are loved , they have a home, and they didn’t have to say goodbye just hello to new chapter.___(Plus that teens are adoptable!)_

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The following is the nomination that was received for these adoptive parents for the 2020 Adoptive Parents of the Year.

About the Nominees

Nominee Name: Glenda And Jarnard R. Brown, Silver Spring, Maryland

  • Years of Service: 5
  • Adults in Household: 2
  • Children in Household: 2

Nomination Details

Jurisdiction: Montgomery County

Theme: “Engage Youth: Listen and Learn”

Mr. and Mrs. Brown became foster parents after raising their children. Mrs. Brown is a daycare provider and wanted to help children in a crisis. She wanted to be an emergency foster family for children that needed a place to be safe. She wanted to help as many children as she could. A sibling group of 2 boys were placed with the Brown family 5 years ago. These boys were the first placement the Brown family had, and they have remained. The Brown family plan to foster many children did not material, but they have made a significant and profound impact in the boy’s lives. The boys are now 8 and 10 years old. They have a traumatic history and have 5 other siblings that are all in the foster care system as well. The Browns have worked to make sure the boys remain connected to their siblings. Mr. and Mrs. Brown have worked tirelessly to ensure these children are safe and secure, while having their needs met. Mr. and Mrs. Brown are strong advocates for the boys, in all areas of their lives, especially in regard to education. Mr. and Mrs. Brown are truly deserving of this recognition.

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The following is the nomination that was received for these adoptive parents for the 2020 Adoptive Parents of the Year.

About the Nominees

Nominee Name: Mary Frances and Stephen Eshleman, Wicomico County

  • Years of Service: 4
  • Adults in Household: 2
  • Children in Household: 1

Nomination Details

Jurisdiction:  Wicomico County DSS

The Eshleman’s have proven to be the model licensed resource home providers exemplifying what the PRIDE curriculum refers to Mutual Assessment; they have demonstrated through their ability, willingness, and resources to Engage Youth: Listen & Learn. They have accepted multiple respites and placements outside of their comfort level and have excelled in nurturing and protecting the children. They have demonstrated support to birth families and when this was not possible, they supported the child to maintain cultural and racial connections. They have served as a professional member of the child welfare team; participating in all placement specific meetings and FIM’s and serving as a stakeholder during our last DHS-Child and Family Service Review. They accepted a short-term placement of a 19-year-old awaiting approval for his own apartment. This youth aged out of care in December 2019 and this relationship has continued through the present. The Eshleman’s purchased a one year AAA subscription for the use with his vehicle for his 21st birthday, provide access to their home internet service to help keep his monthly household expenses more manageable, share family time especially during holidays, and providing practical mentoring regarding life skills such as cooking, laundry, automobile maintenance, and navigating relationships including safe sex practices. On June 17, 2020 as soon as our courts resumed during our country’s COVID -19 Pandemic, the Eshleman’s finalized the adoption of their son who had been placed with them since August 2019. They initially became license resource providers for youth through age 5 and yet their last two placements were for a young adult male preparing for independence and for an 11-year-old who would become their son. The Eshleman’s experiences, service as a member of our professional team and most importantly, as a resource for children and families is the epitome of the theme Engage Youth: Listen and Learn. They have had to do this through and through to meet the children on their levels, advocate for their needs and to decide to be permanent resources for them in whatever form or shape that required. For these reasons, Mary Frances and Stephen Eshleman are Wicomico County Department of Social Services Adoption Family of the Year for 2020.

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The following is the nomination that was received for these adoptive parents for the 2020 Adoptive Parents of the Year.

About the Nominees

Nominee Name: Jomal Bryant and Stephanie Curtis, Baltimore City, Temple Hills, Maryland

  • Years of Service: 3
  • Adults in Household: 2
  • Children in Household: 1

Nomination Details

Jurisdiction:  Baltimore, Maryland

Theme: “Engage Youth: Listen and Learn”

Mr. Jomal Bryant is the maternal cousin of Craig McKoy (age 11). He and his fiancée, Stephanie Curtis, willingly accepted Craig into their home when he was in need. Craig (then age 7) was placed in the home of a family friend by his mother who could not care for him. Craig started exhibiting bad behaviors and was told he had to leave. The Family Preservation Worker was able to get in touch with Mr. Bryant, who left his place of employment over an hour away to come to court, here in Baltimore City. Craig was placed in his home and has thrived both behaviorally and academically. Craig was adopted by Mr. Bryant & Ms. Curtis on 09/16/2020. His was the first case heard in person by Judge Robert B. Kershaw since the COVID-19 pandemic. Craig stated several times that he wanted to stand in front of a judge for his adoption hearing. He got his wish.

The following is the nomination that was received for these adoptive parents for the 2020 Adoptive Parents of the Year.

About the Nominees

Nominee Name: David and Gwen Boyle, Queen Anne, Maryland

  • Years of Service: 10
  • Adults in Household: 2
  • Children in Household: 5

Nomination Details

Jurisdiction: Queen Anne’s County

Theme: “Engage Youth: Listen and Learn”

David and Gwen Boyle have adopted three times, with the most recent occasion in January of this year. The couple adopted a sibling group of three who they had had as foster children for two years. The Boyles have an amazing way of accepting children into their home and allowing them to be children….not foster or adopted children…but just children. The children in this home are loved and benefit from a very large extended family that provides additional love and support. The Queen Anne’s County Department of Social Services is very happy to nominate Gwen and David Boyle as Adoptive Parents of the Year.

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The following is the nomination that was received for these adoptive parents for the 2020 Adoptive Parents of the Year.

These families were nominated together.

About the Nominees

Nominee Names: Dave and Shelly Boblits, Manchester, MD

  • Years of Service: 1.5 Years
  • Adults in Household: 3
  • Children in Household: 4

Co-Nominee Names: Anderson and Jennifer Williams

Nomination Details

Jurisdiction: Carroll County DSS

Theme: “Engage Youth: Listen and Learn”

Carroll County DSS is proud to nominate two sets of foster parents, Anderson and Jennifer Williams, and Dave and Shelly Boblits.

These two foster families came together to adopt a sibling group of three brothers who needed permanence within Carroll County. Dave and Shelly Boblits adopted two brothers, ages 8 and 10, and Jennifer and Anderson Williams their three-year-old younger brother. They were both new foster families, and quickly assumed the roles of pre-adoptive parents, committing to each child and providing unconditional love and support, while fully integrating them into their homes, community, and schools. They have continued to enable the brothers to have ongoing relationships with one another while allowing each to thrive individually. Carroll County DSS is pleased to congratulate Dave and Shelly Boblits, and Jennifer and Anderson Williams as joint 2020 Adoptive Parents of the Year.

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The following is the nomination that was received for these adoptive parents for the 2020 Adoptive Parents of the Year.

About the Nominees

Nominee Name:: Robert and Lauren Bullis, Hoover, Alabama

  • Years of Service: 2
  • Adults in Household: 2
  • Children in Household: 3

Nomination Details

Jurisdiction:  Baltimore, Maryland and Hoover, Alabama

Theme: “Engage Youth: Listen and Learn”

Mr. & Mrs. Bullis reside in Alabama. The child they adopted on 10/21/2020 is a relative that was removed in Baltimore, Maryland at birth. She was with Mr. Bullis’ parents who are caring for the child’s sibling and are advanced in age. The elder Mrs. Bullis suggested that the child, Harper be placed with her son and daughter-in-law. The couple, without hesitation and expecting their second child, took Harper into their home. Harper is now the middle child in the family. She looks very similar to the Bullis’ natural children and has adapted well in the family. Mr. & Mrs. Bullis were very eager and excited to adopt Harper and have complied with both Baltimore City Department of Social Services and the State of Alabama Social Services. As the adoption worker, it was a pleasure working with this family.

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The following is the nomination that was received for these adoptive parents for the 2020 Adoptive Parents of the Year.

About the Nominees

Nominee Name: Christine & Michael Brown, Berlin, Maryland

  • Years of Service: 4
  • Adults in Household: 2
  • Children in Household: 4 (Including 1 Foster child)

Nomination Details

Jurisdiction: Worcester County DSS

Theme: “Engage Youth: Listen and Learn”

Christine complete foster parent PRIDE training on March 1, 2016. Shortly after completing PRIDE Christine opened her heart and her home to Bryanna in August 2016, just 5 months after joining the fostering family. On December 21, 2016 Christine welcomed a short-term respite for a little girl (Sophia) as she wanted to ensure she had a home for the holidays in a loving and safe environment. Sophia left her home January 9, 2017. Still committed to her love as a foster parent, Christine welcomed a sibling group of two in her home on February 8, 2017 (Jada & Madison). Christine engaged all three of her foster children (Bryanna, Jada, Madison) in every family activity, community events, social activities and mental health counseling as needed. Christine grew as a foster parent through multiple training and education surrounding trauma, anger management, coping with stress, realistic expectations and setting healthy boundaries. Christine starting dating Michael in 2018 and he was so inspired by her journey as a foster parent he signed up for PRIDE foster parent training and completed PRIDE in March 2019. They merged together as a family in April 2019 and the children looked at Michael as a father figure and positive supportive mentor. Michael and Christine got married on September 6, 2020. Through their life and fostering experiences and applying what they learned they were able to successfully adopted Bryanna (adopted name: Michaela Brown) on July 16, 2020 and Jada (Adopted name: Susan Brown) and Madison (adopted name: Madilynn Brown) on August 24, 2020. Through engagement in services, integrating their families and support systems and listening to the needs of each child individually and collaboratively Christine and Michael were able to not only expand their family but provider a Forever Home for the children they love and cherish. Even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic they remained supportive and creative with teaching and occupying their children so they wouldn’t feel isolated. After adopting three children this year Christine and Michael still accepted a respite placement for a one-year old September 11, 2020 and he remains in their home. It is without a doubt that Christine & Michael should be honored as the Worcester County 2020 Adoptive Parents of the Year.

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The following is the nomination that was received for these adoptive parents for the 2020 Adoptive Parents of the Year.

About the Nominees

Nominee Name: Charles and Beverly Brown, Waldorf, Maryland

  • Years of Service: 14
  • Adults in Household: 2
  • Children in Household: 2

Nomination Details

Jurisdiction: Prince George’s County

Theme: “Engage Youth: Listen and Learn”

On June 18, 2014, three siblings came into care and two of the Siblings were placed with the Brown Family. The children were severely traumatized and as a result displayed behavior problem, trouble sleeping, and needed extensive mental health treatments in and outside of the County. The children quickly noticed the love, care, and kindness from the Browns and asked if they could become their parents. The family understood what was at stake and remained very supportive of the children and responsive with addressing the children’s needs. Even when crises struck and faced with all of the challenges, the family did not waiver in their commitment to the children. They facilitated visitations with the other sibling that was outside of the County. As a testament to the Brown’s family love for the children, the Brown family sold their house and relocated to Charles County in order for all the siblings to stay connected to one another and grow up together. They encouraged the children to think positive and reassured them that they will never leave. And sure, enough they did not. On February 7, 2020, the adoption of the two siblings was finalized with the Browns.

The following is the nomination that was received for these adoptive parents for the 2020 Adoptive Parents of the Year.

About the Nominees

Nominee Name: Kathy and John Mendoza, White Plains, Maryland

  • Years of Service: 5 years with Charles County
  • Adults in Household: 2
  • Children in Household: 6

Nomination Details

Jurisdiction: Charles County

The Mendoza are not strangers to helping children. They have been resource parents in 2 different counties totaling 12 years. They have fostered 27 children and adopted 4 children prior to this adoption. In June of 2018, the Mendozas opened their home to a sibling set of three ranging in age from 13 yrs to 7 yrs old. The Mendozas were Christen’s 5th placement and his sisters’ 6th placement after entering care in March of 2017. Being adopted by the Mendoza not only provided permanency for this sibling set but allowed them to be reunited. This sibling set will have the opportunity to grow up together in a nurturing and loving home committed to keeping the three of them connected.

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The following is the nomination that was received for these adoptive parents for the 2020 Adoptive Parents of the Year.

About the Nominees

Nominee Name:: Michael and Fiona Mitchell, Essex, Maryland

  • Years of Service: 8
  • Adults in Household: 2
  • Children in Household: 3

Nomination Details

Jurisdiction:  Baltimore City DSS

Theme: “Engage Youth: Listen and Learn”

Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell have provided exceptional care and have shown that they are committed to providing their adoptive children with a loving and stable home. The children were adopted on September 16, 2020.

The children entered care in December of 2012 due to an extreme case of neglect. Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell have been strong advocates for their children’s well being. The children have bonded well in the family and have shown good developmental progress both at home and in social gatherings. They have thrived in the Mitchell’s care and refer to them as “Mom” and “Dad”. They have been observed to be alert, active and well adjusted. The children are school-aged students who continue to earn good grades.

The Mitchell’s have received highly favorable remarks for their dedication to their children. The quality of care they provide to their children remains excellent. They provide their children with a safe and nurturing environment, as well as ensuring that all of their medical, developmental, and all other personal needs are met and therefore, I am pleased to have the opportunity to nominate Michael and Fiona Mitchell as the ‘Adoptive Parents of the Year’ for the excellent care they provide to their children.

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The following is the nomination that was received for these adoptive parents for the 2020 Adoptive Parents of the Year.

About the Nominees

Nominee Name: Julie and Brian Remsberg, Frederick, Maryland

  • Years of Service: 2
  • Adults in Household: 2
  • Children in Household: 5

Nomination Details

Jurisdiction: Frederick

Theme: “Engage Youth: Listen and Learn”

Julie and Brian Remsberg have been licensed resource parents for approximately two and a half years. Shortly after joining our team, they welcomed a sibling group of two children into their home. I would like to nominate Julie and Brian Remsberg. Julie and Brian have continuously gone above and beyond to advocate for the children’s needs. They have been a consistent, loving source of strength and support for these children, and have been committed to working through emotional and behavioral challenges, never giving up during the toughest of times. Julie and Brian have worked hard to honor and connect with the children’s birth family every step of the way. They find humor in tough times, and always maintain such a positive, hopeful attitude. We are thrilled that their adoption will be finalized during National Adoption Month this year. We couldn’t be prouder to honor this family as a 2020 Adoptive Family of the Year for Frederick County.

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The following is the nomination that was received for these adoptive parents for the 2020 Adoptive Parents of the Year.

These families were nominated together.

About the Nominees

Nominee Names: Anderson and Jennifer Williams

Co-Nominee Names: Dave and Shelly Boblits, Manchester, MD

  • Years of Service: 1.5 Years
  • Adults in Household: 3
  • Children in Household: 4

Nomination Details

Jurisdiction: Carroll County DSS

Theme: “Engage Youth: Listen and Learn”

Carroll County DSS is proud to nominate two sets of foster parents, Anderson and Jennifer Williams, and Dave and Shelly Boblits.

These two foster families came together to adopt a sibling group of three brothers who needed permanence within Carroll County. Dave and Shelly Boblits adopted two brothers, ages 8 and 10, and Jennifer and Anderson Williams their three-year-old younger brother. They were both new foster families, and quickly assumed the roles of pre-adoptive parents, committing to each child and providing unconditional love and support, while fully integrating them into their homes, community, and schools. They have continued to enable the brothers to have ongoing relationships with one another while allowing each to thrive individually. Carroll County DSS is pleased to congratulate Dave and Shelly Boblits, and Jennifer and Anderson Williams as joint 2020 Adoptive Parents of the Year.

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The following is the nomination that was received for these adoptive parents for the 2020 Adoptive Parents of the Year.

About the Nominees

Nominee Name: Emilio and Joyce Jorge, Abingdon, Maryland

  • Years of Service: 9.5
  • Adults in Household: 2
  • Children in Household: 3

Nomination Details

Jurisdiction:  Harford County DSS

Charles Xavier Jorge and Benjamin Oliver Jorge were in foster care for over 9 and a half years (3,511 days) before being adopted by the Jorge’s. It has been a very slow and emotional process for the family and they finally adopted Charles and Benjamin on July 15, 2020. This family has been through so much and deserves to be honored for their time, sacrifice, and dedication to ensuring that Charles and Benjamin were given a forever home. We at Harford County Department of Social Services cannot think of a more deserving family to be honored with Adoptive Parents of the year than Emilio & Joyce Jorge.

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The following is the nomination that was received for these adoptive parents for the 2020 Adoptive Parents of the Year.

About the Nominees

Nominee Name: Brenda Orendorf, Garrett, Maryland

  • Years of Service: 2 Years
  • Adults in Household: 1
  • Children in Household: 2

Nomination Details

Brenda has done an amazing job with the children placed in her home. She loves the children as her own. She was extremely open with the children’s biological parents and in passing no judgement created a good relationship with them allowing the children to transition to adoption without any difficulty. The children were scheduled to be adopted on October 30, 2020 which will end a two year placement in foster care.

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The following is the nomination that was received for these adoptive parents for the 2020 Adoptive Parents of the Year.

About the Nominees

Nominee Name: Christopher and Melissa Fisher, Severna Park, Maryland

  • Years of Service: 3
  • Adults in Household: 2
  • Children in Household: 2

Nomination Details

Jurisdiction:  Anne Arundel County DSS

Christopher and Melissa Fisher accepted a foster youth into their home when she was nine years old. Throughout the case the family supported the youth’s relationship with her older sisters, some of whom were also in foster care in higher levels of care and some who were not in care because they were adults. Christopher and Melissa have also supported the youth whiles she explored her identity. The family learned her concerns regarding adoption and they were able to work through the youth’s concerns as a family. Christopher and Melissa were scheduled to adopt the youth when she was twelve years old at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic as the court system was closed. The family waited several additional months in order to complete the adoption process which culminated in an adoption in July 2020.

The following is the nomination that was received for these adoptive parents for the 2020 Adoptive Parents of the Year.

About the Nominees

Nominee Name: Ashley and Doug Maat, Monrovia, Maryland

  • Years of Service: 5
  • Adults in Household: 2
  • Children in Household: 4

Nomination Details

Jurisdiction: Frederick

Theme: “Engage Youth: Listen and Learn”

Ashley and Doug Maat have been licensed resource parents for approximately five years. During that time, they have welcomed multiple children into their home and have adopted four children through foster care. Doug and Ashley have been incredible team partners to our agency. Even more, though, they have been incredible parents, advocates, and supports to these children. They are committed to providing the best care for their kids, based on each of their own unique strengths and needs. In spite of some significant challenges and special needs, they have never wavered in their commitment to their children. Doug and Ashley went above and beyond to maintain family ties during the reunification process and after the children were adopted, they continue to travel to New Jersey so two of the boys can see birth family. It is for these reasons, and so many more, that Frederick County is thrilled to honor the Maat family as a 2020 Adoptive Family of the Year.

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The following is the nomination that was received for these adoptive parents for the 2020 Adoptive Parents of the Year.

About the Nominees

Nominee Name: Andrew and Amy Washington, Middle River, Maryland

  • Years of Service: 5
  • Adults in Household: 2
  • Children in Household: 2

Nomination Details

Jurisdiction:  Baltimore County, Maryland

Theme: “Engage Youth: Listen and Learn”

The Washington family has adopted two children through the Baltimore County foster care system during their 5 years of service as foster parents. They are an incredible couple who are devoted to making the children in their home feel special, safe, and loved. The Washington’s have made it a priority to ensure that the children in their care are active members in the local community by encouraging participation in activities such as gymnastics and roller-skating, as well as community sports teams. The Washington family finalized their second adoption in May, 2020. This child had been in their care since October, 2015. The Washington’s seamlessly and tirelessly worked through the numerous obstacles that come with the role of being foster parents to a young child with active biological parental involvement. They deserve to be honored this year for their unwavering dedication to the children placed in their home over the past 5 years.

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The following is the nomination that was received for these adoptive parents for the 2020 Adoptive Parents of the Year.

About the Nominees

Nominee Name: Jill Duffy, Hagerstown, Maryland

  • Years of Service: 19
  • Adults in Household: 1
  • Children in Household: 4

Nomination Details

Jurisdiction:  Washington County DSS

Jill Duffey has been active with the Washington County Department of Social Services foster and adoptive program for almost 20 years, becoming licensed on March 1, 2001. While being a single parent and working full time, she has adopted four children throughout the years, with her first adoption in 2002 and her most recent just a few months ago. Jill has been described as being energetic, enthusiastic, positive and genuinely loves being a mom to her four children, ranging in age from 18 to 7. Jill has been a strong advocate for her children and has always been able to find strengths in a difficult situation. Jill has been an amazing foster and adoptive parent and WCDSS is extremely fortunate to have her as part of our team. WCDSS is pleased to nominate Jill Duffey as Adoptive Parent of the Year.

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The following is the nomination that was received for these adoptive parents for the 2020 Adoptive Parents of the Year.

About the Nominees

Nominee Name: Jennifer Seningen, Elkton, Maryland

  • Years of Service: 2
  • Adults in Household: 1
  • Children in Household: 3

Nomination Details

Jurisdiction: Cecil County

Jennifer Seningen has only been licensed by the Cecil County Department of Social Services for two years. Initially Jennifer had a goal of fostering and adopting only one child, an infant girl. However, one month after becoming licensed Jennifer received a call to receive placement of a 7-year-old girl whose placement had disrupted. Although this child was well out of Jennifer’s placement preference, Jennifer gladly accepted her into her home. Jennifer quickly built a bond with this child and began to address the numerous traumas she had experienced. Only three short months later, Jennifer received a call to accept this child’s four and five-year-old brothers. Again, Jennifer rose to the challenge and accepted these children into her home. The sibling set exhibited numerous trauma behaviors due to loss, separation, and grief. Again, Jennifer rose to the challenge and became a fierce advocate for each child. Jennifer located appropriate school-based therapy for the children, arranged for an evaluation to assess proper treatment recommendations, and communicated extensively with the children’s schools to provide them with the best resources based on their needs. Jennifer listened to her children and assured them constantly that they were safe and loved in her home. Jen incorporated the children into her extended family and never made them feel like they weren’t a part of the family. Jen went above and beyond in her attempts at family to family connections and continues to allow the children to have contact with their extended biological family members. Following the adoption, all of the children have eased in their behaviors and have begun to show signs of relief and happiness. Jennifer encouraged her daughter to share her story at a recent PRIDE panel where the child explained to the potential foster parents the qualities her adoptive mother had exhibited to make her feel safe, secure, and loved. It is all these reasons and many, many more that the Cecil County Department of Social Services is honored to nominate Jennifer Seningen as the Adoptive Family of the Year.

One Church, One Child of Maryland Honors the 2020 Adoptive Parents of the Year

The Maryland Resource Parent Association is proud to partner with One Church, One Child of Maryland, an organization dedicated to the placement of children in loving homes.

From their website:

One Church, One Child works to reduce the numbers of children in the Maryland foster care system through adoption education and recruitment. We seek to increase adoption opportunities for Maryland’s waiting children.

We believe that all of Maryland’s waiting children–regardless of age, circumstances or challenge–deserve a permanent, loving nurturing family. We believe that our efforts will result in finding the right parents for these children.

Learn more here.

In honor of Adoption Month this November, 2020, an event was held to recognize many of the adoptive parents in the state of Maryland. We are delighted to share them here with our MRPA audience!

To learn more about each of these dedicated adoptive parents, click on the ‘heart’ for more details.

We (Abbi and Joel Weaver) have 4 children- 3 adopted and 1 biological. We began looking into foster care when we moved to Baltimore in 2013 and learned how many children were in the system. Erick and Erica are twin 10- year- olds who love video games and art, and are excelling academically. Regina is almost 5 and enjoys playing outside and building with Legos. And Kaia is 3- she loves keeping up with her older siblings, playing with barbies, and riding her bike. They are an energetic bunch and we love them so much!

We started our adoption journey with Zelda in 2015. She was a safe haven baby and came to us at 2 days old. Dylan came next, 8 months later. He had spent a prolonged stay in the NICU, and came to us shortly after. They are only 5 months apart and not biologically related, but they are inseparable like twins. We are currently fostering a baby, Rosie, who was born prematurely at the beginning of the pandemic. We would love to adopt her if we are able. In addition, we have fostered other children who needed us. My advice to future foster/adoptive parents is to be PATIENT, PERSISTENT, and FLEXIBLE and enjoy those babies and children for as long as they are with you!
Karen, Chris, Zelda, Dylan, & Rosie

I, Gene Taylor, (along with my ex-wife Gwendolyn Taylor) am the father of two amazing young men. James Taylor, age 29 and Jalen Taylor age 22. The fact that they are not biologically mine is MOOT! They both came to us as infants 4 months and 2 months respectively. The oldest is a former Marine and newlywed. My youngest just graduated from college. I could not be prouder of either young man. The only complaint I ever had about my boys is that I never knew that anyone could eat so much!

My name is David Wright and I (along with my ex-wife Kear Wright) am the proud adoptive parent of two wonderful young men. I have worked for the Baltimore Police Department for almost 30 years. I was the foster parent for 2 at-risk children in 2006, Tony and Antwon. They were the youngest of 12 kids. They were officially adopted in August 2009 and  have grown to be wonderful young men that I’m so very proud of (Tony is 18, Antwon is 16). Tony graduated from Aberdeen high school with honors in the spring of 2020 and is now enrolled at Howard University in Washington DC. Antwon is currently an 11th grader at Aberdeen High School.

I, Tammy Davis was born in 1964. I am an adoring and caring mother for all the children that come to my home. Being a sweet and caring woman, I had to adopt. I help those in need and love to help the kids whose parents are struggling. 

Stephanie Bowman maternal aunt of Aaliyah Isaac. I took custody/guardianship of Aaliyah on October 5th, 2017. My journey to adopting her, which was finalized on September 16th of this year, was long (almost 3-years) and at times frustrating, but we are a family now and we could not be happier. We could not imagine our family not having her in it. If not for the hard work and support of the Workers and Lawyers who only saw what was in the best interest of the child, we would not be here today. Saying thank you just does not seem to be enough. We are eternally grateful.

We met Lilly September 13, 2019 and completely fell in love with this very sweet little girl. Lilly is special in so many ways. She is 5 years old and has cerebral palsy and a very rare genetic syndrome. Despite these challenges, Lilly always tries her hardest and does so with a huge smile. After several months in foster care with us, Lilly’s adoption finalized on August 26, 2020. We are so grateful to Lilly’s adoption team for all of their hard work to make this adoption possible. We gave Lilly the middle name Loretta after Katelyn’s late maternal grandma. We know Grandma Loretta is watching over little Lilly from heaven. Lilly is our living angel and we are overjoyed to call her our child.

I had two major dreams for my life. One to be an opera singer and the other to be a father. I always knew that I wanted to be an adoptive parent. In January of 2015, I decided to go to an information meeting at Adoptions Together. I received a lot of information and had a lot of praying to do. The next day, I decided to take the next step and fill out a preliminary application for consideration. Within 24 hours my application was accepted, and my journey began. Within 6 months after the completion of the home study process, I was officially accepted into the Domestic Infant Program. After a year-long wait, I received the call of a lifetime. There was a 2-week-old baby boy named Josiah who needed a daddy. I was overcome and I could not stop crying. My dream was coming true!! There was just one more thing to be done. His birth parents wanted to meet me. Meeting Josiah’s birth parents was amazing. I was instantly in love with these two individuals. We sat and talked for about an hour. We laughed and we cried and formed a bond that would never be broken. The last question Josiah’s birth mother tearfully asked me was, how will Josiah know how much I love him and how will he know that I never wanted to give him up? Reality set in for me that these parents were struggling with this decision. I did the only thing I knew to do, comfort. I held his birth mothers’ hand while she cried, and I told her I wasn’t going anywhere and if they weren’t going anywhere then we will do this together. I then pulled out a book for each of them. I bought us each a book titled, “Guess how much I love you.” This was our special book for Josiah. Daddy, Birth mommy and birth daddy love Josiah with everything in us and this book would be what each of us share to let him know just how much we love him. Ultimately, they wanted me to have the honor and privilege of parenting their baby whom they loved so much.

April 3, 2017 was the day my life changed forever. I held my 2-week-old baby boy in my arms for the first time. November 18, 2017 Josiah officially became a Marshall as we finalized his adoption. My son is now 3 years old. Adoption is a tremendous gift to children and parents. I am forever grateful to the incredible staff at Adoptions together for making my dream of fatherhood come true.

The MRPA Mission

Our Mission is to provide support service to all Resource Families in the state of Maryland. Membership in the Association shall be open to all Resource Parents.

MRPA supports foster, adoptive, kinship and guardianship parents all across the state of Maryland.

Whether you are a current resource parent, a prospective resource parent, or a child welfare professional, MRPA is there to support you.

We realize it takes all of us working together to give children in need a stable, loving family.

The MRPA is a member of the Maryland Charity Campaign. Learn more here.

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