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October 2014 NEWSLETTER - ISSUE 126
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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

Special Note: The new CFS Telephone List (August 2014) is included below.

Effective Parenting Flyer
Community Resource Fair Flyer
Children and Family Services Telephone List

 

(Vice) President's Piece
by Annette Venables

Change is in the Air!
You see it all around you - the leaves are changing, the days are shorter, and you need a sweater in the morning. And during this season of change, MFPA is undergoing its own transformation.

The Community Center has become the face of MFPA. In addition to being a meeting place for our partners and a distribution center for a large and varied quantity of donations, it is often the place caregivers come when they first learn about MFPA.  Our interns and our volunteers have been priceless contributors to our success.  But for the first time ever, MFPA is hiring a staff person.

This is good news!  The Board has done its job in developing more partnerships with other community organizations and expanding our ability to advocate for foster children.  We are also becoming more involved on a policy level in our county, and with state and national foster parent groups.  We are growing, and the need for a staff person reflects our ambitions.

This is good news for YOU! There has never been a better time to become involved in MFPA.  If you want to sit on a working board that researches issues, adapts solutions and devises ways to implement new programs, this is the Board for you.  If you prefer to give a few hours to a particular event, to help manage donations, or to organize a mailing,without the pressure of additional commitments, our interim office manager will make sure that your time is well spent.

We are on the precipice of exciting changes.  As a developing nonprofit, it is essential that we strengthen our Board, hire staff and grow our financial support. How will you contribute?

For more information about joining our Board, contact Jason Burdge (president@mfpa.net). To learn more about volunteering contact Linda Gregory (grey_gregory@att.net) or Annette Venables (vicepresident@mfpa.net).

Halloween, Thanksgiving, then......!
Who doesn't love a holiday party? Can you lend a hand to make our holiday party more inclusive, yummy and fun? Our kids deserve a sparkly bit of holiday magic. To help, contact Linda Gregory (grey_gregory@att.net).
Child Welfare Blog
Thanks to Carol Ihlenburg, the Newsletter Crew was alerted to this blog Thoughts on Caring for the Most Vulnerable and this post Ten Things Case Workers Wish Their Foster Parents Knew.  To read the post that inspired this response, follow the link Ten Things Foster Parents Wish Their Case Worker Knew.  Both posts are thoughtful, respectful and represent the type of relationship the MFPA and Marin County's Children and Family Services strive to achieve.
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Don't forget!!!  The next monthly training with Ryan Pickrell is right around the corner - Monday, October 13th, from 6:30 to 8:30 PM, at the Huckleberry Youth office in Montecito Plaza (Trader Joe's shopping center) in San Rafael. Download the flyer here and don't forget to RSVP for childcare.  September's meeting was well attended, interesting and informative. Rules on confidentiality were established and Ryan quickly created a respectful and empathetic atmosphere. This is a huge opportunity to get your training hours AND valuable methods for dealing with challenging behaviors. Take advantage of it!

Calendar

Oct. 7: Post-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. 13: Effective Parenting, Part 2 of 2, 6:30 - 8:30 PM, Huckleberry Youth Program office at Montecito Plaza, 361 Third Street, Suite G, San Rafael, light refreshments will be served (see flyer in Attachments Section for more information)
Oct. 14: Kinship 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 21: Post-Adoption Parenting 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. 28: Pre/Newly Adopted 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
October 25: SAVE THE DATE! Marin County Community Resource Fair, sponsored by the MFPA and Marin Advocates for Children, 1:30-4 PM, Pickleweed Park Community Center (see flyer in Attachments for details)
Marin County Community Resource Fair
by Annette Venables

Did you know that you could get up to one year of free counseling for your foster child? Or that free professional counseling is available to help you lobby for school support? Do you need a college advisor? All this and much more is available at the Marin County Community Resource Fair.
 
Join us on Saturday, October 25 from 1:30 to 4 pm at the Community Center at Pickleweed Park in San Rafael (50 Canal Street).
 
Free childcare for children ages 2 and up! Plus a special children’s activity offered by the Bay Area Discovery Museum.
 
And the Bay Area Discovery Museum is extending a family access membership (only $35) to all foster, fost-adopt and kincare providers. All you need is a copy of your license. Bring it with you and you can apply right at the event.
 
Raffle prizes! Popcorn! And more. Bring your friends - there are services to benefit all families in Marin County. Share this opportunity on Facebook, with your schools and teachers, at your local Community Center, etc. Download the flyer (available in the Attachments Section) and post it at your local coffee house!  Get the word out and join us!
 
Many thanks to Marin Advocates, the College of Marin Foster and Kincare Program, and the Bay Area Discovery Museum for their partnership on this event.
Sunny Hills Services Re-Introduces the Guardian Scholars Program

The Sunny Hills Guardian Scholars Program is focused on supporting both non-minor dependents and former foster care youth in accessing academic support at the College of Marin (COM) and increasing the opportunity to transfer to a four year college or university to continue their education.

Applications for Spring Semester 2015 are now being accepted! Students who would qualify are:
  • those who are currently enrolled and attending classes at COM
  • students who have applied and been accepted at the College of Marin and are waiting for spring enrollment, and
  • MUST be ages 18 - 21, AB12 eligible (housing only available for current foster youth)
These students are eligible for FREE dormitory-style housing right near campus! Applications will be accepted year round with priority going to the first students who meet all eligibility requirements. Click each link below for a Any questions can be directed to P'Shana Reddics, LCSW, Program Coordinator, 415-457-3200 x 131 (office), 415-847-8031 (cell).  

Join us in partnering to support youth in finding success in higher education!

Sunny Hills Services, 300 Sunny Hills Dr, San Anselmo, CA 94960, fax 415-721-7505, 
www.sunnyhillsservices.org
Free Cell Phones for Foster Youth
Staying connected is crucial for transition age youth and access to a cell phone in today's world has become a necessity, enabling youth to stay in contact with social workers, caregivers, college support staff and others.  Working in partnership with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and Assurance Wireless, iFoster has launched a new program that provides current and former foster youth with a free cell phone, including unlimited calling and texting.  The plan also includes voicemail, call waiting and caller ID at no cost.  Eligible youth include current and former foster youth as well as kinship and probation youth ages 18-26 who qualify for Medi-Cal under the Former Foster Care Children's Program (Medi-Call FFCC).  Negotiations are currently underway for an eventual expansion of the program to include Android smartphones with data access.  This valuable resource can help youth stay on track, meet important deadlines and remain connected to both adult and peer supporters.  To apply for this opportunity, foster youth can complete an application by visiting iFoster.org or calling (855) 936-7837. 
Step Up to the Plate!

Are you tenacious? Organized? Passionate about helping kids in need and their families? Marketing background? Finance background? Nonprofit experience? Good at internet searches? A good writer? Any of the above? Help MFPA with grant writing. Be a part of a great team. Work on your own schedule. Help us win the funds to expand our programs and advocacy reach. Interested? Contact Linda Gregory grey_gregory@att.net
Welcome New Foster Parents
by Cindy Wasserman

Marin County Children and Family Services welcomes our newest foster parents, Laura and Chris Gandy!  Residents of Sausalito, this couple brings a true sense of purpose, warmth and insight to their future work as foster parents.  Laura is a manager of education at Intuitive Surgical, where she develops materials and trains surgeons to utilize a sophisticated robotic system during surgical procedures.  Chris works at HFF, LP, a commercial real estate capital intermediary where he finds partners and raises equity for the financing of commercial properties.  They are outdoor enthusiasts and love hiking, backpacking, kayaking and scuba diving.  The Gandys wish to begin by providing respite to children and youth ages five to 18.  After gaining some experience in this role, they plan to foster boys and girls ages five to 12 or so.  They are currently licensed for one and are enthused to offer respite during the evenings, over the weekends and possibly overnight during the week as long as arrangements for after-school care are made.  If you are in need of a break, please consider calling them; their contact information will be included in the revised respite roster, due out next month (in the meantime please call Cindy Wasserman at 415/473-5028 if you would like to contact the Gandys.)  Laura speaks Spanish, so bilingual Spanish-speaking children will be an especially good fit for this responsible and caring family.   
Another Successful Community Event
by Annette Venables
Thank you DSW, Discount Shoe Warehouse at Vintage Oaks, Novato for hosting a foster parent* appreciation night. With all the balloons and yummy treats—so many people thought we were hosting a party! And it was a real celebration for everyone who attended—DSW offered 20% off all merchandise and a specialist helped to order children’s shoes. In addition, MFPA offered $25 gift cards—funds generously provided by Seep Train for children’s shoes. If you missed the event, contact Fran Perrulli
fperrulli@sbcglobal.net to get a gift card. And don’t forget to thank DSW for their generous support when you stop in.
 
*foster parent includes fost-adopt and kincare providers
Opportunities

Community Resource Fair - Save the date of Saturday, October 25th, for the MFPA's and Marin Advocates for Children's Resource Fair, from 1:30-4 PM at the Albert J. Boro Community Center at Pickleweed Park (see flyer in Attachments section)

Trainings - Check out the trainings being offered and plug them into your calendar!  These trainings are noted in the Calendar section and the accompanying flyers are in the Attachments section.


Monday, October 13th: Effective Parenting, Part 2 of 2, 6:30 - 8:30 PM, Huckleberry Youth Program office at Montecito Plaza, 361 Third Street, Suite G, San Rafael, light refreshments will be served (see flyer in Attachments Section for more information)

Find other training resources through the following agencies: 
MAILING ADDRESS
4280 REDWOOD HIGHWAY, SUITE 1B
SAN RAFAEL, CA 94903
415-507-0557

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