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NOVEMBER 2015 NEWSLETTER - ISSUE 136
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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
Training Flyers (AB12 & No Such Thing...)
Holiday Party Flyer
Santa's Workshop Flyer
QPI State and Local Update
Holiday Party News
 by Barbara Sabido, MFPA

MFPA has partnered with Seneca Family of Agencies for our Annual Holiday Party for Foster Kids. Riding the wave of the fabulous party Kristin Cronin planned last year, this year's party will include all the best parts of last year (Carriage Rides! Photos!) with some new games and activities for ALL ages! We'll jingle the afternoon away on Sunday, December 12th, 12 to 2 pm, at the Margaret Todd Senior Center, 1560 Hill Road, Novato. This party is for Foster, Fost-Adopt, and KinCare Kids and Families, as well as our Non Minor Independents. We'd love to see CASA's and Social Workers come too! Bio kids are also welcome! And if you don't have a placement right now, come anyway and mingle while we jingle!
Click here for the flyer and don't forget to RSVP to info@mfpa.net with the number of adults and children coming. 
MFPA Executive Board Nominations are Open
by Linda Gregory, MFPA
 
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
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Calendar

Nov. 10Kinship 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. 14: MFPA Board Meeting, 10 AM to Noon, Community Resource Center, 4280 Redwood Highway, Suite 8, San Rafael, MFPA Members Welcome
Nov. 17: 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
Nov. 24Pre/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
Dec. 1Post-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
Dec. 3: AB12, Extended Foster Care, 9 am to 12 pm,
Health and Wellness Center, 3240 Kerner Blvd, Room 110, San Rafael. RSVP to thiguera@marincounty.org. (see Flyer in Attachments)
Dec. 13: Annual Holiday Party for Foster Kids, 12 to 2 pm, Margaret Todd Senior Center, 1560 Hill Road, Novato, RSVP to info@mfpa.net (see Flyer in Attachments)
Dec. 14: There's No Such Thing as a Bad Kid, 9 am to 1 pm, Health and Wellness Center, 3240 Kerner Blvd, Room 109/110, San Rafael. RSVP to martha@marinadvocates.org. (see Flyer in Attachments)

President's Message
by Jason Burdge, MFPA


As MFPA’s board of directors is planning for our upcoming annual planning meeting on Saturday, November 14, it is great to look back at what an incredible year we have had! Around this time last year, the County of Marin was approved to be a QPI county and we, collectively, began to plan our first steps to improving the overall quality of care foster youth receive. The bottom line is we can’t improve foster care without retaining and recruiting quality caregivers. MFPA is proud to be one of the lead organizations and grateful for the partnerships we have developed.

There has been close to a dozen meetings to-date where interested individuals and organizations ranging from foster caregivers, social workers, attorneys, public health nurses, mental health workers, our judges, and more have gathered to work together. The ultimate goal of these meetings has been to prioritize and take action on the most important issues facing our county’s and the state’s foster care system. Thank you to everyone who has been involved!!!!!

Recently, we all gathered to provide updates on the year and to learn where QPI is at on a state level. If you would like to read a detailed list of the QPI State updates, our County’s Committee updates, and our action plan, please see the QPI Update article below or
download the attachment.

Here are some of the topics:

  1. Improved information sharing with prior foster caregivers
  2. Update on improving the allegation process
  3. The Resource Family Approval Act (RFA) – A new licensing process
  4. The Continuum of Care Reform (CCR) – Reduction of group homes and increased need of foster homes
  5. Marin County’s foster caregiver support survey â€“ Please submit if you have not already! This includes foster-adopt, relative, and NREFM caregivers
  6. Creation of Foster Caregiver ID Badges
  7. Updates to the County’s website on becoming a foster caregiver, including a Spanish version
  8. Recruitment efforts
  9. Creation of Ice-Breaker meeting between a foster youth’s bio-family and the new foster family
  10. Creation of an Important Information document about a foster youth to be gathered at the detention hearing

Be sure to check out http://www.qpicalifornia.org/ for free trainings, additional QPI Information, and more!

Marin County is undergoing a lot of positive change around the foster care system and we are looking forward to a great end of 2015 and an even better 2016! Please attend our upcoming annual planning meeting (see Calendar) and be on the lookout for an important update about the future of the Marin Foster Parent Association.

As always, thank you for all you do for our county’s foster youth and supporting our incredible caregivers!
 
Feel free to contact me to discuss any of the above, or MFPA in general.
 President@mfpa.net415-310-5871


 

National Adoption Awareness Month
by Liz Kuhgn, TLC
 
 
November is National Adoption Awareness Month and we want take this opportunity to express our gratitude and appreciation for all those families in Marin County who have embarked on the journey toward adopting and providing permanent, loving homes for children and youth in our community.
 
National Adoption Awareness Month’s initiative for 2015 focuses on the important needs of older foster youth between the ages of 15 and 18.  According to US Department of Health and Human Services data, in 2014 there were 415,000 children and youth in foster care. 108,000 of these kids were awaiting adoption and 9% were teenagers from 15-18 years old.  These youth face more significant barriers when it comes to finding permanent adoptive homes. Yet teens need stable,  compassionate caregivers just as much as every other child awaiting adoption. No matter how young or old, every youth needs a permanent home and family who can provide the care, support and security needed in order for them to thrive.
 
Without all of you who have opened your hearts and homes as adoptive parents, none of this would be possible. It is with this awareness that we thank you and acknowledge you for all that you do every day!

 

Welcome New Foster Family!
by Cindy Wasserman
Marin County Children and Family Services extends a warm welcome to Sabrina and Oscar Romero!  The Romeros live in San Rafael with their four year old daughter.  Licensed for ages zero to five, they have a capacity of one and are most interested in fost-adoption (they are now working with TLC Child and Family Services to become fost-adopt parents); they would love to foster a boy or girl if doing so appears to be in service of that goal.  Oscar is bilingual in Spanish and English, and the family will welcome monolingual, Spanish speaking children.  Sabrina and Oscar were licensed foster parents in North Carolina, so they come with quite a bit of experience.  Their interests include running (he is an ultra marathon runner, participating in foot races that are over 26 miles long and are commonly 30 to 100 miles in length, and she is a marathon and trail runner), hiking and raising their daughter to be a compassionate person.  Oscar is earning a degree in fine art painting.  Sabrina works at Mini (Cooper) of Marin, as a sales coordinator.  We are thrilled Marin children will benefit from all that the Romeros have to offer, including: big hearts, experience, stability and understanding. 

Share Your Thoughts
by Leslie Fields, CFS
 
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.

More Holiday Fun
by Barbara Sabido

Mt. Tam United Methodist Church is hosting their annual kids-only Santa's Workshop on Sunday, December 6th, from 12 to 2:30 pm. Children 5 and up are invited to make gifts and decorate cookies for their loved ones. Lunch is provided. RSVP to Tricia at pacwheeler@yahoo.com. See the flyer in Attachments for more information.

QPI Update
by Jason Burdge
 

State Level QPI actions and activities:
 
  1. Information sharing with prior foster caregivers– A State All County Letter (ACL) recently stated that all information about foster children can be shared unless it is prohibited by another statue.  Basically, there is no prohibition on foster caregivers receiving updates and having contact with a foster youth/child after the end of a placement. Apparently, the language in the ACL needs some clarifying and is being worked on by the Youth Law Center (the parent organization of QPI).
  2. Allegations – The YLC and QPI staff are working with the CA’s Department of Social Services to improve and clarify the process that occurs when an allegation, or complaint, is made upon a licensed foster parent.  Specific actions include improving the communication with the foster caregiver(s) about the actual allegation, improving the completion time of the investigation, and better educating all individuals about the process. There is a current pilot program in CA where a foster caregiver would be trained on licensing regulations and become a liaison with the caregiver and provide support during an investigation.
  3. Resource Family Approval Act (RFA) – A streamlined, comprehensive way of approving all caregivers to be implemented statewide by 2017.  Under RFA, foster parents, relatives, non-relative extended family members, fost-adopt families and guardians participate in the same, standardized application, screening, training and approval process.  Once approved, they will all be referred to as “resource families.” 
  4. Continuum of Care Reform (CCR) - Aims to limit congregate/group home care.  CA will move away from the use of long-term group home care by increasing youth placement in family settings. Group home care will be transformed into places where youth requiring more structure can receive short term intensive treatment. As a result, resource families will be provided with increased support.
Marin County QPI Team Reports:
Recruitment, Retention, and Support Subcommittee:
  1. Caregiver Survey – Every caregiver in Marin County including Foster-Adopt, Relative, and NREFM caregivers should take this survey. The results of this survey will help us improve our county’s foster care system. Click here to participate in the survey.
  2. Foster Caregiver Badges – All licensed foster caregivers will receive an official badge with the caregiver’s information to be used during school meetings, doctor’s visits, and other official meetings where proof of care may be needed. These badges will also be used for an upcoming caregiver discount program at local businesses.
  3. Update to CFS’s Foster Care website – Including a Spanish version and forms, video testimonials, FAQs, Myths and Misconceptions about foster care, and more.
  4. Recruitment - Representative from all Marin County licensing agencies and MFPA will meet to discuss joint recruitment efforts. Develop partnerships to engage community groups and faith based organizations to support foster/resource families and to recruit.
Communication & Information Sharing Subcommittee:
  1. Ice Breakers meetings –Working on developing a meeting between the biological family and foster family within 30 days of placement. The goal is that information can be shared directly with no confidentiality concern and to improve the relationship between everyone
  2. Working on creating a document of important information about a foster child that attorneys will help gather at the detention hearing. This information will then he provided to the foster caregivers to help aid in the youth’s transition.
  3. Overall. The subcommittee is proud to have a good cross section of members building empathy and understanding among members while working collectively on problem solving.
Opportunities

Trainings

No Such Thing as a Bad Kid - Monday, December 14, 9 am to 1 pm, Health and Wellness Center, 3240 Kerner Blvd, Room 109/110. RSVP to martha@marinadvocates.org
See attached flyer for more info.

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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