Mission, Values, and DEI

Pillars 030623

Mission and Values

The mission of Alternative Family Services is to support vulnerable children and families in need of stability, safety, and well-being in their communities.


AFS supports families, children, and youth in foster, adoptive, and extended family settings materially, therapeutically, and educationally. The AFS clinical model is, at heart, a highly individualized social support model.


Our clients are typically not those with sufficient economic resources to successfully address the trauma and family disruption that has befallen them. We direct our efforts towards those who are most vulnerable, lacking the economic, social and/or political means necessary to achieve stability, safety, and well-being without outside support.

Children and Families

The recipients of our efforts are not just children, but also, significantly, their biological, foster, adoptive, and extended families as well. To thrive, children need families as their key source of nurturance. In order to provide this nurturance, the families themselves need supportive interactions among their members and with the surrounding environment.

Stability, Safety, and Wellbeing

The object of all child welfare services is stability, safety, and well-being. We strive to be inclusive of the concept of children growing up in “forever families” (permanence) as well as the more generally understood meaning of stable family life – free from neglect, abuse, trauma, and violence.


As children are in families, families are in communities. Our work must be sensitive to the social context. As every child and family is unique, so is every community. We always aim to be knowledgeable and heedful of the distinctive characteristics of the cultures and communities in which our children and families are embedded.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

AFS must and does stand against institutional racism, white supremacy, bigotry, and hate in all its many manifestations. AFS has initiated practices on both the staff and board levels to examine and improve our capacity to be inclusive of diverse populations and guarantee them full equity and inclusion. Our mission is to support ALL vulnerable children, families, staff members, and communities.