At Tuesday’s Board meeting, the Orange County Board of Supervisors declared May as Foster Care Month and highlighted the significant need for the community to get involved in order to provide loving homes for foster youth. Members of the Board presented a resolution to leaders of the County of Orange Social Services Agency (SSA) for the Agency’s efforts to recruit qualified foster families, also known as resource families. The Board also honored local resource parents Melissa and Andrew Ferguson at the meeting.
In Orange County, there are more than 2,000 children and youth in foster care.
“Brighter outcomes are achieved when children have opportunities to grow and develop in a family setting,” said Fifth District Supervisor Lisa A. Bartlett, Chairwoman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors. She continued, “We are committed to ensuring children are placed in family-based care whenever possible.”
Second District Supervisor Michelle Steel, Vice Chair of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, stated, “As a community, we share the responsibility to look after the safety, health and well-being of our children. We applaud those families who see the need and respond by selflessly opening up their homes and hearts to ensure children thrive.”
SSA is in the midst of implementing California’s Child Welfare Continuum of Care Reform (CCR), with the goal of improving the child welfare system by limiting group home placements and increasing utilization of home-based care for foster youth. Through CCR, increased emphasis is placed on locating resource families for foster youth.
“Resource parents are vital to children’s success because of their efforts to maintain strong connections with foster youth and their families,” said First District Supervisor Andrew Do. He continued, “As a community, we are grateful for the love and compassion our resource families, like the Fergusons, give generously to Orange County’s foster youth. Their positive impact cannot be understated.”
“While all children need safe, stable and nurturing family homes to thrive, our foster youth depend on the community for additional support. We are beyond grateful to the families who step up and provide this care for Orange County’s most vulnerable children,” said Third District Supervisor Donald P. Wagner.
Foster children range in age from infancy to late teens. Their backgrounds cross all ethnic and economic lines. Resource family homes are especially needed for teenagers, sibling sets and children with special medical, educational, behavioral or emotional challenges.
Fourth District Supervisor Doug Chaffee remarked, “This month offers a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness of the needs that are faced by foster youth in our community year round.” He continued, “What these children need is a safe, stable and loving home.”
Fostering a child can be a challenging yet rewarding journey for families. Orange County resource families continue to express the value they find in providing safe homes for children. For more information on becoming a resource family, or other ways you can help our foster youth, please call (888) 871-KIDS or visit www.oc4kids.com.