Mission, Values, and DEI

Mission and Values

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


AFS supports families, children and youth in foster, adoptive and extended families settings morally, 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 have 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 wellbeing 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 wellbeing. 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 a 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.

Core Values of AFS

Evidenced Based and Outcome Driven

AFS is committed to measuring and collecting data to help our clients, families and staff understand their accomplishments and help them set clear, realistic goals as they move forward.

Community and Family Centered

AFS believes children heal and thrive living with families in the community. AFS works with clients and families in their own homes, schools and other community settings. AFS brings its services to our clients rather than expecting our clients to come to us.

Strength Based

AFS is committed to identifying, utilizing and celebrating individual strengths in all their forms in our approach to healing children and supporting foster and adoptive families.

Culturally Humility

AFS values the variety of backgrounds and experiences of all people we work with – children and youth, along with biological, foster and adoptive families. AFS employs a culturally diverse staff sensitive to clients’ cultural cues and preferences. AFS celebrates the diversity of our clients and their families, integrating this appreciation in all of our work. For example, AFS proudly offers all of our services in English and Spanish.

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.