Santa Clara County CALIFORNIA
Jesús and Rosa López have fostered more than 80 children in Santa Clara County, providing a nurturing home to youth, and mentoring other resource families, especially other Spanish-speaking parents. On Monday the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors honored the López family as 2016 Foster Parents of the Year, and recognize the outstanding contributions of hundreds of foster parents in the community.
“We commend the sacrifice and commitment of foster parents and families who open their homes to more than 1,300 children every year,” said President Dave Cortese, County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors, who presented a resolution proclaiming May as Foster Care Appreciation Month.
Each year, the Santa Clara County Department of Family and Children’s Services recognizes a foster parent or a couple for their exemplary care for abused or neglected children. During their eight years as foster parents, Jesús and Rosa have cared for children with challenges, including a child that was not doing well in school and started thriving under their positive, loving care, and a toddler whose development was delayed due to neglect and is now striving to meet all his developmental milestones through multiple therapy appointments and nurturing attention. Jesús and Rosa are always willing to offer a helping hand to other foster parents who have benefited from their encouragement to participate in training and CPR/First Aid classes.
Representatives from the County’s Department of Families and Children Services, community leaders and community based organizations joined the López family and dozens of resource families and advocates to celebrate Foster Parent Appreciation Month.
“There is a great need for resource families to care for Santa Clara County’s most vulnerable children,” said Supervisor Cindy Chavez, Chair of the Board’s Children, Seniors and Families Committee. “The positive effect that foster parents have on the successful health, educational and general life outcomes of foster youth has been proven time and time again by Jesús and Rosa López and our other generous resource families-but we need more residents to take up that mantle.”
In the past year, Santa Clara County resource families and foster homes provided care for nearly 1,300 children in the community. Some of these children were placed in foster care for one day, with others for longer term placements.
There is a great need for a range of Resource Families (relative and non-relative foster parents) to protect Santa Clara County’s most vulnerable children. Resource families are critical partners in child welfare.
Today, foster parents are considered “resource families” and reflect the diversity of the community, including single-parents, multiracial families, grandparents and other relatives. Foster children also come with a variety of needs – infants, young and older children, sibling groups, teens and young adults, special physical/medical needs, and youngsters who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, In-Between (LGBTQQI). Prospective foster parents who feel they can provide a loving home for any of these children and youth are encouraged to apply.
“Foster parents are an invaluable resource and an essential partner to keeping children and families safe, strong and thriving in our communities” said Robert Menicocci, Social Services Agency Director. “Providing supportive services, in collaboration with all involved in the lives of our foster children, ensures that they grow up healthy and happy, with bright futures ahead of them.”
Santa Clara County Social Services Agency data show that foster children fare better when placed in foster homes that offer individualized treatment programs and trained foster parents that meet the needs of each child. To meet these needs, the Social Services Agency searches for candidates who can join our staff and/or foster homes who bring a broad range of ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds. This includes bilingual homes, families willing to welcome preteens, teenagers and/or sibling groups of three or more children, or children with special medical, emotional, developmental and educational needs.
How to become a Foster Parent
The Department of Family and Children’s Services encourages residents to consider becoming one of the exceptional people who make an extraordinary contribution in the local community by providing a temporary, but always nurturing and loving foster home to children in care. Santa Clara County residents interested in becoming foster parents, or wanting more information on how to be a resource for the county’s children in need may contact (408) 299-KIDS or visit the Social Services website at: http://www.sccgov.org/fpr
Once prospective foster parents contact the Social Service Agency, they will receive an information package that includes an application they need to fill out, and should be willing to have a background check and training. The process also includes meeting with a social worker for home visitations and consultation.