Care Communities: Fostering Longer & Stronger
According to the April 2019 CHAMPS Guide on Foster Parent Recruitment and Retention, an estimated 30 to 50 percent of resource parents quit fostering within the first year. Resource parenting is challenging and the ongoing need for support is great. The deficit of resource homes means children often experience multiple placements, which negatively affects their safety and well-being. Once children are placed, preventing disruptions centers around supporting resource parents.
Retaining resource parents is critical to ensure the County of Orange Social Services Agency (SSA) maintains the amount of homes needed to care for children entering the child welfare system. In an effort to provide additional avenues of support for resource parents, SSA is partnering with the faith-based community in establishing Care Communities.
Care Communities are organized by participating faith-based partners who oversee teams of six to eight trained volunteers from within the organizations. The teams’ focus is to wrap around resource parents with practical support, enabling resource parents to foster longer and stronger. Volunteers receive training and undergo background checks before taking on supportive roles such as:
Serves the family in tangible ways including: meals, house cleaning, errands, extra housework, laundry, yard work, homework or even childcare for the biological children in the family. The possibilities are endless and the options are unique to each family.
This role allows the volunteer to be more involved in the life of a foster child. It is a great opportunity to regularly pour love and encouragement into the child. Mentors can provide childcare, which is the area of support most needed by foster parents.
The team leader organizes the volunteers and works closely with the resource family. Some responsibilities include a weekly phone call to the resource parents, a weekly email updating the team on childcare needs and other requests. The team leader may also serve as a family helper or child mentor.
Care Community support is available to all resource parents and participation in services is voluntary. The teams serve solely at your discretion under the Reasonable and Prudent Parenting Standard. For more information on how to receive support from a Care Community, email the Resource Family Support team at ResourceFamilySupport@ssa.ocgov.com or call
(714) 704-8255 (TALK).