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SEPTEMBER 2015 NEWSLETTER - ISSUE 134
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The mission of the Marin Foster Parent Association (MFPA) is to achieve consistent, safe, quality care for the well being of all foster children by providing support services and advocacy to Foster and Adoptive Families, Relative and Non-relative caregivers.

In This Issue
 

Attachments

Children and Family Services Telephone List
CRC Guidelines
KidCare Fair
Training Flyer
QPI Meeting Flyer
Seneca Fall Fun Day
 

President's Message
by Jason Burdge


Thank you for being a part of our community and for your support of foster families and the youth in their care. Because of the support and dedication from our community, MFPA is able to continue to improve our services and support. If you haven’t had the opportunity yet, please be sure to visit our expanded Community Resource Center! Barbara and Nancy have done a great job making our spaces look and feel inviting. With the addition of the new office space, which is actually the room where our original center was located, we are now able to offer a separate space for meetings and to display larger donated items. The main room is now able to solely hold our smaller items for distribution and serves as the childcare room when needed. The Community Resource Center is available to all families with foster youth and for any training or meeting that benefits foster youth. Contact Barbara if you would like to know more.

Be sure to register for the upcoming Marin KidCareFair by clicking on this link!!!!! This incredible FREE event is full of training opportunities (for DHHS training hours), family resources, and fun family activities. The day starts off with the newly REQUIRED training on Commercially Sexual Exploited Children (CSEC). All licensed foster families will need to take this training and this is the only one planned at this time in Marin.
The KidCareFair is designed for foster families and those interested in learning more about fostering or fost-adopting. Community members wanting to learn about ways to support kids in need are also encouraged to attend. Over 20 community organizations will be available for you to learn more about their resources. We will have free dental screenings, the exciting Marin County Library FLAGship bus, face painting, raffles prizes, and more! Lunch can be purchased on site but must be reserved by clicking on the link above and registering. View the full program, list of training opportunities, and fun events here.
Please register in advance for the CSEC training and to help in our planning. Special thanks to MFPA Vice-President Annette Venables for her dedication, hard work, and leadership in organizing this event.

After writing this letter, Barbara and I will be heading off to meet with Marin County Free Library staff and members of the Friends of the Marin County Free Library, who are donating $500 to MFPA from their youth summer reading program. More details in the article below!

MFPA’s next board meeting is this coming Wednesday, October 7, from 9:30 – 11:30 at our Community Resource Center, Suite 8. Please feel free to attend and share your thoughts.

 

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Calendar

October 6Post-Adoptive Support Group5:30-7:30 PM, Seneca Center, 3100 Kerner Blvd, San Rafael, dinner/childcare provided with RSVP (required) to 264-0939 or email Seneca
Oct. 7: MFPA Board Meeting, 9:30-11:30 AM, Community Resource Center, 4280 Redwood Highway, Suite 8, San Rafael, MFPA Members Welcome
Oct. 13: Kinship Support Group5:30-7:30 PM, Seneca Center, 3100 Kerner Blvd, San Rafael, dinner/childcare provided with RSVP (required) to 264-0939 or email Seneca
Oct 14: QPI Recruitment and Retention Subcommittee Meeting, 1-2:30 pm, Connections Center, 3240 Kerner Blvd, San Rafael
Oct. 17: The Marin KidCare Fair, 9:00 AM-4 PM, Connections Center, 3240 Kerner Blvd, San Rafael (see flyer in Attachments)
Oct. 20: Post-Adoption Parenting Skills Group5:30-7:30 PM, Seneca Center, 3100 Kerner Blvd, San Rafael, dinner/childcare provided with RSVP (required) to 264-0939 or email Seneca
Oct. 27Pre/Newly Adoptive Support Group, 5:30-7:30 PM, Seneca Center, 3100 Kerner Blvd, San Rafael, dinner/childcare provided with RSVP (required) to 264-0939 or 
email Seneca
Oct. 29: Field Training Workshop for Social Workers, Licensed Foster Parents Invited, Two Sessions Offered, 9:00 AM-12:00 PM OR 1:00 pm-4:00 PM, 3240 Kerner Blvd, Room 109. RSVP IS REQUIRED! Email CFS (see Flyer in Attachments)
Nov. 3Post-Adoptive Support Group5:30-7:30 PM, Seneca Center, 3100 Kerner Blvd, San Rafael, dinner/childcare provided with RSVP (required) to 264-0939 or email Seneca
Nov. 7: Seneca Fall Fun Day, 11 AM-2 PM, Terra Linda Rec Center, 670 Del Ganado Road, San Rafael, RSVP to Joni Franzini, 415-755-0219 (see Flyer in Attachments)
MFPA Executive Board Nominations are Open
by Linda Gregory
 
Per our bylaws, elections for MFPA President and Treasurer are held every two years, in odd years. This being the end of 2015, nominations are now open for the positions of MFPA President and Treasurer. All Executive Board positions are 2-year terms. Please review the responsibilities of each position by clicking on the links below, and submit your nominations to info@mfpa.net by November 15, 2015. All MFPA Members may nominate someone, and self-nominations are allowed. Current board members review nominations and vote during the December board meeting. 



President's Responsibilities

Treasurer's Responsibilities
QPI Update
by Leslie Fields
 
ATTENTION FOSTER PARENTS - YOUR INPUT IS REQUESTED!
The QPI Recruitment, Support & Retention subcommittee is working with the county in updating portions of the CFS website. One addition - addressing the myths and misconceptions about foster parenting. Foster Parents are invited to share what their personal misconceptions were about foster parenting, and what myths you want to help dispel. Please send your input to Leslie Fields (
lfields@marincounty.org) or Barbara Sabido (executivedirector@mfpa.net) and help us educate Marin County and increase the number of foster families.

QPI MEETING NOTICES
On Wednesday, October 14th, the QPI Recruitment and Retention Subcommittee will meet from 1 to 2:30 pm at the Connections Center, 3240 Kerner Blvd, San Rafael.

On Wednesday, October 28th, there will be a QPI large group meeting from 10 AM to 12 pm at the Connections Center, Room 109/110 (see flyer in Attachments).   We will hear reports from our two subcommittees, Communication and Information Sharing AND Recruitment, Support & Retention. We have a special request for those families caring for teens - please consider bringing your teen to the meeting, as we welcome their input and could provide a small compensation for their time. 


The meeting will be facilitated by Jennifer Rodriguez, Executive Director, YLC, and refreshments will be provided.
Young Readers Support MFPA
by Tom Sabido
 
This past summer, Friends of the Marin County Free Library funded a youth reading program at all ten branches of the Marin County Free Library to encourage young readers. For every 100 minutes spent reading (or were read to), a participant received a “Book Buck.” Participants chose between two options for their Book Bucks: "purchase" prizes or donate the “Book Buck” to a local non-profit selected by the Friends. Guess how many of those “Book Bucks” were donated to the MFPA? 1,073! In turn, Friends of the Marin County Free Library turned the Book Bucks into $500 of cold, hard cash.



On Friday, October 2nd, MFPA President Jason Burdge and Director Barbara Sabido met with members of the Friends and staff from the Library to receive the $500 donation. 

How inspiring to know that so many of these young readers chose giving to foster children OVER receiving a prize! Perhaps these same young readers will grow up to be Foster Parents or Social Workers! We already know they'll grow up book-lovers! For more inspiring stories, read on.......





From L to R, Damon Hill, Public Services Manager, Marin County Free Library; Barbara Sabido, MFPA Director; Jason Burdge, MFPA President; Cindy Swift, Treasurer, Friends of the Marin County Free Library; Sara Jones, Director, Marin County Free Library. Not pictured, as she was taking the picture, Margaret Miles, Branch Manager, Fairfax Library.
Marin Youth Step Up
 by Barbara Sabido

Jamie Press, a 13-year old Marin County resident, chose the MFPA as the focus of her Bat Mitzvah project. She volunteered with MFPA Staff 
Member Nancy Gordon at the CRC over the course of several weeks last winter and spring. She helped process donations, folded and 
labeled flyers for mailing, and helped clients find items for their children. But Jaime wasn't finished! Over the last few months she also ran a very successful collection drive and returned to the CRC recently with several bins of new and gently used soccer cleats, shin guards, practice and uniform jerseys, and soccer balls! And she still isn't finished! Jamie has also created an endowment fund to create sports scholarships for Marin County Foster Children. Upon finalization, foster families with a sports lover in their home will be able to access these funds, through the MFPA, to help cover the registration costs of soccer (Jamie's first love), baseball, basketball, etc! The Staff and Board of the MFPA extends a very heartfelt thank you to Jamie and her family!

An email arrived a month ago with a very unique request. The writer, Kathryn, asked: 

"My daughter Georgia is turning 6 and instead of gifts for her, she asked me to have birthday guests bring toys/shoes/coats that we could donate to area foster children. I was wondering if you take such donations?"

Three weeks later, Georgia and Kathryn arrived at the CRC with several bags of gifts for Marin foster children! Kathryn reported that party attendees, both adults and children, LOVED the opportunity to shop for a foster child, and were inspired by Georgia's self-sacrificing act!


Once again, the children of Marin County demonstrate that they truly will be the Leaders of Tomorrow!

Welcome New Foster Family!
by Cindy Wasserman

Marin County Children and Family Services is pleased to welcome Ashley and Riley Hurd, who were licensed at the end of September.  They will foster boys and girls ages zero to two, with a capacity of one.  The Hurds have a smart, engaging and fun son who is two years old.  Ashley is the owner of Eventful Events, and she specializes in orchestrating fundraising events for non-profit organizations.  Riley is a land use attorney specializing in development issues here in Marin.  He has served as the Deputy City Attorney for Belvedere as well as San Anselmo.  An active family residing in San Rafael, their interests include hiking, bicycling, healthful eating and travel.  They deeply value the act of giving back to their community and they enthusiastically look forward to helping families in need.  They are giving, warm and welcoming people.  Any youngster will be fortunate to have them.

 The Hurds are available to provide short term care and respite through the remainder of this year.  If you are in need of a break, please let the staff at CFS know and we will put you in touch with the Hurds.  Beginning January, 2016, this family will provide regular foster care.

The Ripple Effect
by Liz Kughn, MFT, TLC Social Worker

Looking for another way to make a difference?  This one will come easily to you – the amazing families who have opened your hearts and homes to children and teens in our community.

The recruitment of foster and fost-adopt families is one of the most important aspects of serving the many children and youth in need at this time.  There is always a need for new foster and fost-adopt families for kids who might otherwise lack the security and stability that only a loving family home can provide.

Here is where you can help.  As with so many things in life, word of mouth is one of most powerful and effective ways to spread the word, increase awareness, and dispel the myths about what it means to be a foster or fost-adopt parent.  This involves simply talking to your friends, co-workers and neighbors about how they can truly make a difference in a child’s life by becoming a foster parent. Families who’ve actually had the experience are always the best spokes-people. As foster parents, talk with members at your church, book club, gym, or PTA about your positive experiences and spread the love! This creates a ripple effect and opens up the possibility of expanding the network of care for so many more children and teens who are waiting for new and loving homes. Pass it on!!

Ice Breakers are Coming Back
by Maria Affinito
 
Children and Family Services (CFS) are currently working on bringing back Icebreakers to the agency.  We heard from several foster parents in our QPI meetings that Icebreaker meetings were helpful; as a result, our aim is to have Icebreaker meetings continue.  Icebreakers were initially piloted in March 2011, and the meetings helped with coordinating a child’s care.  Soon after the child entered foster care, Icebreakers allowed caretakers and parents to immediately meet one another to discuss the child’s needs and transitions.  The meetings also encouraged a partnership between the child’s parents and caretakers.  

We are excited to bring Icebreakers back to our agency, and look forward to meeting with you during these meetings.  The Icebreaker meeting will be scheduled by CFS, in close communication with the parent and caretaker’s schedule.  The meetings will typically last for 45 minutes and will take place at the CFS office.  CFS will facilitate the meeting and encourage communication among the participants.  This may include having the child present for a portion of the meeting, if developmentally appropriate.  The facilitator will also assist in identifying an acceptable form of ongoing communication between the caretaker and parent, as this will assist in building a partnership and team for the child’s overall well being.

We hope to meet with foster parents to discuss Icebreakers in more detail, and look forward to meeting many of you at the KidCare Fair on October 17, during the session called "What's New at CFS" from 2:30 to 3:30 pm at 3240 Kerner Blvd, Room 109/110. Should you have any other questions regarding Icebreakers, please feel free to contact Supervisor Erin Lynch at 415-473-7155. 
News from Seneca
 
Seneca has planned a Fall Fun Day for all Foster, Fost-Adopt and KinCare families in Marin County. Join the Seneca family for a day of fun and games on Saturday, November 7th, from 11 am to 2 pm at the Terra Linda Rec Center, 670 Del Ganado Road in San Rafael. RSVP to Joni Franzini, 415-755-0219, joni_franzini@senecacenter.org. Download the flyer in Attachments, put it on your calendar, and JOIN THE FUN!

Opportunities

Trainings in October

There are multiple training opportunities at the Marin KidCare Fair on Saturday, October 17th. Click on this link to view the program, and then click on this link to reserve your spot. You could potentially fulfill most of your annual training hours in ONE day!!

The Bay Area Academy has invited Marin County Foster Parents to attend a 3-hour training on October 29th, 2015. The training is called "Field Safety Training for Social Workers" and is offered twice on this day. Attend from 9 am to 12 pm, or 1 pm to 4 pm. See the flyer in Attachments for details.


Foster Care Education Law Fact Sheets - This is a lengthy document, but packed with important information about California Foster Care Education law. Download it here.


Training Resources - Check out the trainings being offered by the following agencies: 
MAILING ADDRESS
4280 REDWOOD HIGHWAY, SUITE 1B
SAN RAFAEL, CA 94903
415-507-0557

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