Grants help Yolo foster children

By From page A6 | February 28, 2014

Foster care recruitment and retention efforts in Yolo County have been given a tremendous boost for the second year with a much-appreciated $50,000 grant from Yocha Dehe Wintun Community Foundation. With this funding, Woodland Community College’s Foster & Kinship Care Education program now offers new, higher levels of support for foster children ages 6 to 20.

This funding allows the program to complement its efforts for older youths that it has provided for its youngest children, those up to 5 years old, from an ongoing, generous seven-year First 5 Yolo integrated family support initiative grant. It is wonderful being able to serve all of the county’s children touched by foster care and the local families who open their homes and hearts to them.

Support such as this can be life-changing to a child. When foster teens were asked what such generosity means to them, several shared, “You are helping me want more for myself and my future” and “I now feel that I am worth someone’s time and effort.”

With the benevolence of Yocha Dehe Wintun Community and First 5 Yolo funding, a positive and very definite trend is observed — local children are being placed much more often into local foster homes, which is each grant’s basic goal. Recruitment seeks to bring awareness to the need for families willing to help raise a hurt and vulnerable child. Retention efforts serve to support caregivers as they strive to rebuild and stabilize lives.

Current statistics exemplify how these goals are clearly being met:

* We have decreased our foster family agency placements by 40 percent since January 2010 and doubled our relative and non-relative extended family member placements since January 2012.

* The total number of youths placed in group homes has decreased by almost 300 percent, from 51 in October 2009 to 18 in October 2013.

* Twenty-five percent more children are now placed in our local licensed foster homes.

Thank you to Yocha Dehe Wintun Community Foundation and First 5 Yolo for their continuing interest in improving the lives of foster children in Yolo County. For more information on becoming a Yolo County licensed foster parent or how you can help a foster child, call me at 530-574-1964 or visit www.yolofostercare.com.

Cherie Schroeder

Director, Foster & Kinship Care Education, Woodland Community College

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