By Elizabeth Mariscal
With over 21,000 children in foster care in Los Angeles County, we need to ask ourselves, who is going to help raise these children when their biological families cannot? They say it takes a village to raise a child. We are all part of that village. Could you be one of those to raise these children?
If you are willing, able, and have the resources to open your home, there is a good possibility that you could become a resource (foster) parent. Bienvenidos Foster Care and Adoptions, an affiliate of Hillsides, has a foster care and adoptions program located in both Los Angeles County and San Bernardino County. We do not discriminate based on marital status, race, creed, or sexual orientation, but we have a few requirements:
- You be at least 21 years of age;
- Your home has at least one bedroom available for children to be placed;
- Your income should be adequate to handle your current living status without relying on the financial assistance that will be given to you to care for the children;
- You must pass a criminal background check;
- With our guidance, your home must meet state safety regulations;
- You are willing to attend pre-approval as well as post-approval trainings to help you understand and be equipped to work with the various issues that may arise when children are removed from their homes;
- Most importantly, you must be willing and able to be part of a professional team whose goal it is to help heal the child and guide him/her towards permanency, whether it means reuniting with parents or family or by perhaps considering making your home his/her forever home.
Foster Care is not always an easy adventure, however you will not take this journey alone. Bienvenidos is committed to helping you from the very first phone call through the entire approval process, which, ideally, should take approximately 90 days. We will also be with you when you receive your very first child into your home. We have our social work staff available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Your questions are just a phone call away.
If you have room in your heart to care for at least one of these 21,000 children who need a home, give us a call. There is nothing more rewarding than knowing you can be instrumental in helping better the life of a child, whether it be for 24 hours or for the rest of their life. Every day a child is in a loving, nurturing, safe home means one less day of being fearful about what’s going to happen to them now.
Elizabeth Mariscal, a resource family development coordinator at Bienvenidos, has worked for the agency for 29 years. She has been married for 45 years and is the mother of seven children, one of whom was fostered until adoption at the age of five. She is also the grandmother of eleven, one of whom was fostered until her adoption was finalized one year ago.