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Hello CHSFS Community-

As many of you know, we announced the closing of the CHSFS Forum last week. Since that time, we have received your many comments and suggestions. We want you to know that we are listening to your calls and reading your emails and posts. Ideally we would like to respond to each of you personally, but to reach you in a timely manner, we hope you will accept this communication as our response to your messages about the Forum.

It is clear that the personal empathy and direct experience of families in similar situations is invaluable to adoptive families and families waiting to adopt. Most of you have indicated that you would like us to continue to host the Forum. Many of you have expressed concern that should the Forum close you will lose your community and data, and that there will be no way to recreate it. Many of you said that we did not provide ample time for discussion or planning a new Forum.

Unfortunately, we can no longer host a community Forum on our agency’s website. That said, the communication and planning surrounding this policy change was inadequate, and for that, I truly apologize. Today we are beginning a process to make some broad changes in our client communication plan in response to your feedback.

We will be taking the following steps to help facilitate a better transition. Beginning on October 16, 2009, the forum will be closed to new posts. BUT, we will keep the archive online (at the same url) and viewable as long as people continue to use it as a resource. In addition, we will provide links to alternate forums (that you recommend) on our current and new website and we will encourage users to explore them as a peer-to-peer resource.

On our new website, we would like content and format to be meaningful for clients and guests, and also sustainable for this agency. We would welcome your help in designing that new medium. We invite those of you in the Twin Cities area to meet with us at 6:00 p.m. central time on Tuesday, October 20 at our headquarters, 1605 Eustis Street, in the Weiser Room to discuss next steps. Clients in other locations may join in the conversation by phone. We will post call-in instructions on the Forum as soon as they are known.

On behalf of Children’s Home Society and Family Services, I apologize for any concerns or unrest that resulted from our announcement about the closing of the Forum. We are glad that the CHSFS community is valuable to you, and we want to foster that relationship. We look forward to working with you to create a communication vehicle that is useful and meaningful for all families and to creating a stronger relationship with you.

With warm regards,
Madonna King
President and CEO
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