Consortium for Resource Adoptive and Foster Family Training (CRAFFT) and Mutual Family Assessments (MFA) at VCU

Promoting the safety, permanency and well-being of Virginia children, and the review of kinship, foster and adoptive families. 

CRAFFT: Helping shape stronger families

CRAFFT helps shape stronger foster, adoptive, respite and kinship families (collectively referred to as resource families) in Virginia who serve local departments of social services (LDSS) to meet the needs of children and youth in Virginia’s child welfare system. VCU in 2023 marked its 20-year anniversary partnering with CRAFFT. 

CRAFFT’s goals

  1. To increase the knowledge and skills of prospective and currently approved resource families through the development and delivery of standardized, competency-based, pre- and in-service training, as required by the local Department of Social Services (LDSS);
  2. To build capacity among LDSS to train and assess their own families.

About MFA

As of 2023 under the CRAFFT grant, VCU now partners with VDSS and Norfolk State University to support the Mutual Family Assessment (MFA), with an MFA supervisor on the VCU team overseeing a number of local Mutual Family Assessment specialists. These specialists are responsible for completing mutual family assessments for kinship, foster and adoptive families. MFA specialists provide critical support for prospective resource families as they embark on the journey of welcoming a young person into their home.

VCU-CRAFFT partnership

There is a CRAFFT coordinator assigned to each of the five Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) regions to respond to the pre-service and in-service training needs of LDSS resource families and LDSS staff. The two coordinators, serving the northern and central regions of Virginia, work at the VCU School of Social Work.

The VCU School of Social Work is uniquely positioned to provide these services in our community because of the school’s long-standing partnership with the Virginia Department of Social Services on various initiatives focused on workforce development for local child welfare agencies and broader community social services.

One of the school’s strategic priorities is to deliver on our commitment to solving social and health inequities in partnership with communities. CRAFFT supports direct delivery of crucial services to our communities' child welfare agencies by equipping resource kinship, adoptive and foster families to provide homes for and support to our communities' children.


Child welfare work goes back to the roots of social work. The VCU School of Social Work acknowledges the harmful role that systems have played in the lives of marginalized communities. As such we are committed to community engagement and racial and social justice. As a part of VCU’s commitment to racial justice, we recognize that individuals and families of color have a long history of being negatively impacted by the child welfare system. We aim to partner with communities in a way that values authentic engagement, prioritizes family preservation and a kin-first culture, and honors individual rights to self-determination. While centuries of harm cannot be undone, we commit to challenging the attitudes, beliefs, and practices that have negatively defined the child welfare system.


Most of the training offered by CRAFFT is open to all LDSS resource families and staff in the coordinators’ assigned region. However, trainings are limited to resource families and LDSS staff from an agency/locality. The following are some of the services the CRAFFT coordinators offer in our communities:

CRAFFT assists LDSS agencies with increasing the pool of viable family-based placements by providing pre-service training to prospective resource families using a VDSS-approved curriculum that meets the required competencies outlined in Virginia’s foster care/adoption policy and guidance documents.

Parent Resources for Information, Development, and Education (PRIDE) core competency categories

CRAFFT provides pre-service training to prospective resource families using a VDSS-approved curriculum that meets the required competencies outlined in Virginia’s Guidance. VDSS' preferred curriculums is Parent Resources for Information, Development, and Education (PRIDE) and A Tradition of Caring (equivalent of PRIDE for kinship caregivers).

The PRIDE Model of Practice is designed to strengthen the quality of family foster care and adoption services by developing and supporting resource (foster and adoptive) families as partners in child protection. As a model of practice, PRIDE provides a standardized, consistent, structured framework for the competency-based recruitment, preparation, assessment, and selection of resource families, and for foster parent in-service training, ongoing professional development, support, and retention.

Source: CRAFFT: For Resource Families

Meet VCU's CRAFFT/MFA team

Katie Lo Monaco, B.S.W.

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Tammy Hoskins

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Autumn Daniel, M.S.W.

  • Mutual Family Assessment supervisor consultant
  • VCU School of Social Work
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CRAFFT/MFA administrative support

Naomi Reddish, M.S.W.

  • CRAFFT/MFA principle investigator (PI)
  • Administrator of community engaged child and family well-being initiatives; Child Welfare Stipend coordinator; assistant professor
  • VCU School of Social Work
Naomi Sutton Reddish headshot

Amanda Long, M.S.W.

  • Coordinator of community engaged child and family well-being initiatives
  • VCU School of Social Work
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Connect and explore resources

If you are inquiring about kinship and foster care or are interested in participating in training provided by CRAFFT, please contact your local DSS or visit Foster Virginia for more information.

Why foster?
Foster families are needed now more than ever to support family reunification and provide children who enter foster care with opportunities to remain connected to their families and home communities. 

Kinship care
Kinship care is a way for Virginia’s children to stay connected to family when they are unable to live with their parents. When children enter foster care, relatives often can become a kinship foster parent. Kinship care can reduce trauma, promote stability, and maintain family and cultural connections.

Becoming a foster parent
Foster parents keep children connected to their families as parents follow steps to achieve reunification. In order to connect prospective foster parents with their local departments of social services, Virginia has established the Faster Families Highway. 

Join Virginia's Faster Families Highway
Start your foster parent journey and get connected with your local department of social services. By creating an account, you’ll be put on the fastest pathway to becoming a foster parent and beginning your journey of supporting children and families in your local community. Once you create an account on the Highway, you'll be taken through a six-step process to determine your readiness to become a foster parent.

Other VCU-Virginia Department of Social Services collaborations

Learn more about the Child Welfare Stipend Program, and meet our Class of 2024 and  Class of 2023 CWSP graduates.