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Shining A Light on Foster Care

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Angels Foster Care is seeking loving, stable families to help alleviate foster home shortage in Santa Barbara County.

Each May, National Foster Care Month provides an opportunity to shine a light on the experiences of the more than 500 children and youth in Santa Barbara County’s foster care system. Of those children, approximately a third are infants and toddlers under the age of three who don’t have a stable family to love, feed and care for them. It’s hard to believe, but there currently aren’t enough homes to care for our community’s foster babies.

Have you ever wondered what you could do to help children who are less fortunate than your own? Local families are encouraged to get involved as foster, foster-to-adopt, or short-term caregivers. By simply nurturing a child’s emotional, social and intellectual growth, you can impart a child with a lifelong gift: the ability to trust, empathize, engage, bond and love.

“I became an Angels Foster Care mom three and half years ago,” said a Montecito mother of two. “My daughters and I did shelter and respite and have cared for nearly a dozen babies. My biggest fear when I first became involved with Angels was that after caring we would become emotionally attached and not be able to let the baby go back to either their biological parents or into permanent adoption. But after a family meeting, we decided it was worth the risk to do whatever we could to help these babies who need our love. Having these babies in our home has been the greatest gift. It is truly in giving that we receive.”

Babies bring a unique and lasting sense of joy and fulfillment. Angels Foster Care of Santa Barbara is seeking the help of dedicated, local families who can provide a safe, nurturing environment for a baby or toddler. The typical commitment is 12-18 months. If you have a loving home, the time and resources to care for a young child, and an open heart – we need you. From training to materials to mentoring, Angels Foster Care provides the tools and support to make your fostering experience a rewarding one.

Did you know?

· Foster families remain completely confidential and are not required to have any contact with the foster child’s birth family. A foster parent’s job is to hold, feed, care for and love the baby.

· Yes, dates nights are possible and encouraged! Foster families may use a trusted babysitter 18 years or older.

· Angels foster families may travel with their foster child.

· A family court judge determines the permanent plan for each foster child within 12 months. If the child is available for adoption and your family is interested, Angels will support you through the process. More than 50% of Angels placements lead to family adoptions and there is no cost to adopt through the Angels program.

“Angels Foster Care provides us with the “behind the scenes” care that allows foster parents to truly concentrate on the kids we have in our homes,” added a Goleta mom. “They handle the paperwork, the court dates, the “system” and all it entails…this allows parents to really be there for their foster children. We have had many surprises along the way, but none more than the extraordinary love we received on a daily basis from our two Angels babies.”

Caring for a foster baby offers the chance to enrich a child’s life while discovering the riches in your own. Consider becoming an Angels foster parent and help create permanent, lifelong connections for a deserving young child. To learn more about the Angels program, visit us on the web at www.angelssb.com or call (805) 884-0012.

Ellen Dameron is a former foster parent and current Outreach Coordinator for Angels Foster Care. She can be reached at ellen@angelssb.com or (805) 884-0012.

[AUTHOR:Ellen Dameron]

April 20, 2014

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