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Posted by Alex Murashko

Foster parents are in higher demand in Orange County after a new state law that took effect at the beginning of the year aims to place at-risk kids into permanent homes at a faster rate, said county officials. Orange County has until February 18 to come under compliance with this new law. This has placed a great need for licensed foster parents to not only provide homes for new foster children entering the system but also provide co-training for families seeking licensing. If you know someone who is a licensed foster parent in Orange County that is interested in helping the county train families by sharing firsthand experiences, please let us know by emailing orphans@saddleback.com.

Local orphan advocates at homes such as Orangewood Children and Family Center say the law also calls for major changes at group homes so that “children don’t spend years in what is referred to as ‘congregate’ or ‘residential’ care until they age out of the child welfare system at 18,” according to the Orange County Register.

“(The new law) increases our need for good foster homes exponentially,” said Elizabeth DenBleyker, public information officer for Orange County’s Social Services Agency. DenBleyker told the Register that 100 to 120 more such homes are needed.

Advocates favor the general goal of the new law. However, Orange County officials say “the new rules also present a challenge to find enough people – either relatives, other significant adults in a child’s life or foster parents – who can serve as what is being called ‘resource families’ for children whose biological parents are deemed unfit to raise them’,” the Register reports.

Read “Wanted: More Foster Parents in Orange County” beginning below.

Local advocates for children are scrambling to find more foster parents in Orange County, a result of a new state law aimed at placing abused kids into permanent homes faster. The law also figures to alter operations at the county’s best-known children’s home, Orangewood Children and Family Center.

The broader goal of AB403, which took effect Jan. 1, is to get traumatized youth into stable and supportive living situations, preferably in a family-like setting, as soon and as permanently as possible. It sets a limit of 10 days on the time a child can spend in a temporary emergency shelter such as Orangewood.

The law also calls for major changes at group homes so that children don’t spend years in what is referred to as “congregate” or “residential” care until they age out of the child welfare system at 18. Group homes typically have six or more children housed together under the supervision of paid staff.

“(The new law) increases our need for good foster homes exponentially,” said Elizabeth DenBleyker, public information officer for Orange County’s Social Services Agency. DenBleyker pegged the need at 100 to 120 more such homes.

The county has about 400 licensed resource family homes, but only about one-third are prepared and ready to take in children, DenBleyker said.

Currently, 2,304 children are in county dependency, with most of them placed with relatives or other adults in their lives in family-based settings… FULL STORY



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