City Council recognizes SP foster families, encourages more participation

October 30, 2002
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesSanta Paula’s growing number of foster families keeping city children close to home were recognized by the City Council at the Oct. 21 meeting.“We recognize that foster homes play a vital role in providing shelter and caring for abused and neglected children, and foster families are commended for the work they do elevating pain by providing a safe harbor,” said Councilman John Procter.There is a critical shortage of foster care in Ventura County, both with the low number of homes providing foster care and the “urgent” need of Latino foster families for the large numbers of Latino children requiring care, he noted.Although 23 Santa Clara River Valley children are in foster care, there are only seven homes.“There is the need and the opportunity for community to reach out and make a difference in a young life,” said Supervisor Kathy Long, who accepted the proclamation.New foster parents receive training, mentoring and financial compensation, but the need of more bicultural and bilingual households has led to the goal of 14 such homes in the river valley over the next three years.One bonus of being a foster family is the potential for future adoption of the foster child, Long noted. “I know Santa Paulans’ hearts are big enough and warm enough to wrap their arms around children in need.”
Judge Charles Campbell, who oversees the county juvenile dependency court, said foster children placed outside their home city lose the ties so important to a young life. “I’m asking Santa Paula to reach out, find a place for the children of Santa Paula to be housed in Santa Paula. It can be for a brief time or a lifelong commitment,” when adoption results.“Santa Paula has been a wonderful challenge,” said Foster Care Program Administrator Trish Cavanaugh, who noted that a town hall meeting on the program created new local foster families.Cavanaugh introduced several area families and their foster children. “In the past, we didn’t have Spanish speakers, this is the miracle your community is starting to create; Santa Paula has done a wonderful job, we merely ask that you do better.”“Our slogan is that Santa Paula is the city that cares for their kids,” said Long, who asked that if any service club or organization would like a presentation on the foster family program, “we’ll be there, just let us know.”For more information about the Foster Family’s program, call 652-7827.

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