The Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE) has rolled out a new program that pairs youth in foster care who are waiting for adoption with host families who are committed to actively incorporating the child or teen into their community and family life. 

The Weekend Family Connection program provides youth with opportunities to meet with adults in their lives, such as co-workers, neighbors, members of their faith-communities or even sports teams. In turn, the goal is to build connections that will ultimately result in the identification of an adoptive family, while allowing the youth a positive experience with family life. 

Supporting this program is Lindsey Brynjolfsson, who has been in the field of social work for the past 15 years. She will be applying her knowledge and experience from acting as a recruiter, as well as acting as a child service coordinator for Boston and contracted agencies.

“I am most looking forward to working as part of a team to help remove barriers to permanency for waiting children placed in a residential setting,” she said. Brynjolfsson will be working with a small caseload of children with specialized recruitment needs, while recruiting host families to be matched with the waiting kids. 

The process for families to become involved in acting as a host family is not dissimilar to applying to be a foster or adoptive parent and/or family. Host families must either already be fully licensed foster/adoptive families or be willing to complete the necessary steps to become a licensed family. This includes completing an application, going through MAPP training, and participating in a home study. 

Once approved to be a Weekend Family Connections Host, a team of workers supporting the youth will make a match to a family. The family hosts the youth a minimum of two weekend days/nights a month for one year. 

If your family is interested in becoming a host family, contact MARE at 617-964-6273 or info@mareinc.org.