Local advocates for children are scrambling to find more foster parents in Orange County, a result of a new state law aimed at placing abused kids into permanent homes faster.
The law also figures to alter operations at the county’s best-known children’s home, Orangewood Children and Family Center.
The broader goal of AB403, which took effect Jan. 1, is to get traumatized youth into stable and supportive living situations, preferably in a familylike setting, as soon and as permanently as possible. It sets a limit of 10 days on the time a child can spend in a temporary emergency shelter such as Orangewood.
The City of Mission Viejo is the first city to reach out to resident foster families to provide support and sense of community and belonging. All foster kids simply want to belong and feel at home. They don't want to be singled out, but rather just assimilate into their communities and blend in with their peers.
To start the new year right in 2016 Team Backup/Mission Viejo is offering every resident foster child in this city an opportunity to participate in a local life enrichment activity. Children will be able to enjoy a community class, club, camp, troop or team. Resources and limited scholarships will be granted to help defray the expenses and reduce the hardship on caregivers.
The foster care population is often overlooked and under served. The Orange County Department of Social Services has identified approximately 25 to 35 wards of the court who currently reside in Mission Viejo. This figure frequently fluctuates does not include displaced foster children from other counties. This is a tiny number in comparison to the population of Mission Viejo of over 93,000 residents. Also there are more churches and temples than foster children in Orange County. Most religions call upon members to help care for orphans. However, people neglect to get involved. This problem can be solved if every city and place of worship would embrace their resident foster families.
The failure rate for foster care is tremendous. It can and must be changed. Mission Viejo cares and wants to help foster families thrive and set a precedent for other cities to establish a "TeamBackup" for their cities too. Together we can revolutionize the foster care system by providing teams of support for every foster family and a real sense of community.
More than half a million children are in foster care in the United States today — roughly double the number who were in foster care in the mid-1980s, according to the Child Welfare League of America.
"Having thousands of kids in foster care is a cause for concern because it's at an enormous financial and human cost," says Carrie Friedman, who runs the the CWLA's national database of child welfare statistics. The number of children in foster care nationwide fluctuates between 550,000 and 600,000, according to Friedman. Read More...
Need For Families & Support
Some advocates also argue for greater efforts to strengthen the impoverished communities where foster children often come from. When communities break down, foster rolls grow and the cycle feeds itself, they say. Because of the connectedness between the health of communities and the safety of kids, many experts recommend child welfare agencies look to rebuild old-fashioned safety nets.
Foster Kids Can Be Great Achievers!
Cleveland was also where Antwone Fisher, the man whose life inspired Denzel Washington's new movie, spent years in foster care.
Despite difficult circumstances, foster kids can be great achievers, advocates say. As well as Fisher, basketball star Alonzo Mourning and actor Victoria Rowell were both foster children. Mourning and Rowell now advocate for foster kids. Read Full ABC News Report by Logan Nakyanzi
To learn more and find out what you can do to help, visit www.FosterCareInfo.org, a Web site run by Casey Family Programs, or call 1-877-TEN-WAYS (1-877-836-9297).
Team BackupAsks You To Say Yes In 2016 To Become Part Of A Team Giving A Hand-Up To Foster Kids... With us or one of the many great organizations out there.