State and local child welfare agencies are seeing increases in the number of children entering the system due to the pandemic’s severe impacts on their households and are bracing for the likelihood of even more children being impacted as the crisis continues.
Acutely feeling these increases are Pasadena-based Hillsides and its affiliate Bienvenidos Foster Care and Adoption Services, which are launching a social media campaign, #CreateLastingChange, to recruit dozens of new resource families who can help foster children who have been displaced by the pandemic.
Hillsides is seeking up to 50 new potential resource families (formerly known as foster families) to foster children from newborns to teenagers on a temporary or long-term basis as part of their home-based family care program.
Agencies like Hillsides and Bienvenidos are well-equipped to train and prepare new resource families that could potentially receive a new placement within a few months after contacting them or by calling (909) 447-7520.
“Hillsides has a long history of stepping up for children in need in our communities and we are answering the call once again to identify and train new potential resource families,” said Hillsides CEO Stacey Roth.
“This pandemic has hit struggling families harder than anyone else and the demand for new resource families has surged beyond the normal rates that we typically see,” Roth said. “We are committed to doing our part to recruit and train new potential resource families who are willing to open their hearts and homes to children in need as part of this #CreateLastingChange campaign.”
Serving as a resource parent is a challenging and very rewarding process that is open to adults over 21 who have a stable income and can offer a designated bedroom in their home for a child or multiple children.
Interested families who contact Hillsides/Bienvenidos have an initial interview, attend an orientation meeting, undergo a background clearance process, attend training, then pass a home assessment.
Resource families receive about $1,000 per month to help cover expenses like housing, food, and clothing. Some families with higher-needs children receive Intensive Services Foster Care Funding because they will undergo special training to care for children and young adults with intensive medical, therapeutic, or behavioral needs. Children also have their own Medi-Cal health and dental coverage.
Resource families also receive extensive support post-placement from Hillsides/Bienvenidos staff that helps ensure smooth transitions and ongoing placements.
Hillsides has an industry-leading average of 83 percent of all children undergoing only one placement during their time under their care. In fact, more than 94 percent of resource family members and 97 percent of children placed in their care reported being overall satisfied with their experience.
Additionally, many families who work with Hillsides/Bienvenidos also go on to adopt the children they care for should they not be able to be reunited with their birth families, and the Hillsides team is trained and prepared to guide them through this process.
“We are with new families every step of the way should they be interested in becoming a resource family on a temporary basis or if they are interested in heading down the road toward adoption,” said Cindy Macias, division chief of Bienvenidos Foster Care and Adoption Services.
“Fostering is a terrific way for families to provide a stable and loving environment for children who have undergone trauma and puts them on a road to healing and thriving,” Macias said.
“The vast majority of our resource families tell us that their experiences have been so much greater than they were expecting and they are proud of the ways they see children under their care go on to achieve milestones in their lives,” she said.
For more information about becoming a resource family, please visit hillsides.org or call (909) 447-7520.