It’s hard to believe that Family Care Network is celebrating 30 years of enhancing the “wellbeing of children and families in partnership with our Community.” I became a certified foster parent with Family Care Network 27 years ago when the agency was only three years old. I knew I had found the perfect agency to support me in being a Resource Parent when I learned that the very first training was all about communication and creating effective, genuine relationships.
As I think about the many years I have been a Resource Parent with FCNI, I am lead to express my thanks.
Thanks to Jim Roberts for his vision in creating the Family Care Network, and for being open to diverse ideas and investing the energy to make them happen. I remember 27 years ago asking Jim if there was a manual or handbook for foster parenting, and he said, “No there isn’t. We should write one.” He then organized lunchtime meetings with FCNI’s small staff and a few foster parents, and we began writing the first version of The Therapeutic Parent.
Thanks to Jim for promoting and empowering kid’s voices regarding how they felt about medications, their rights and privileges, even driving. Back in 1990, foster children could not get a driver’s license unless their biological parent signed for it. Thanks to Jim’s advocacy and the work of foster youth advocating for change in Sacramento, the laws were changed to allow them to get their license and drive—this was a life changing, empowering change for all foster youth.
Thanks to Jim for encouraging our relationship with the SLO County Probation Department. In 1999, when we began providing specialized foster care and had four to six boys with us who were all on probation. Our home provided a family for these boys, and Jim helped encouraged us by assigning one person from the Family Care to work with every child placed in our home, and helped us advocate for one Probation Officer to work with us rather than having different workers for each boy. This whole experience was new and different, but Jim had the vision to see that it would work. With his leadership and encouragement, we also started having child/family team meetings in our home rather than in an office, again furthering supporting us.
In all the years I have been associated with FCNI, I have attended many of the annual Strategic Planning Days, which brings all of FCNI’s staff, community partners and consumers together for a day of brainstorming on how to make the agency even better than it already is. Whether you are newly hired or you’ve been with the agency for 30 years, your input is heard, honored and valued. Jim’s commitment to shaking things up (what he often calls “chaos”), and his devotion to implementing the best and brightest ideas makes FCNI a place that I am honored to be a part of.
Over the years, I have seen the agency grow from less than ten people to close to 200, and I am constantly grateful for the high caliber of FCNI staff and their caring hearts. We have been supported in so many ways--too many to list. I know for sure that we would never have made it past our second foster child without the care and concern of everyone at the agency--from those who work behind the scenes to those who come into our home and work directly with us and our kids. So thank you, Jim Roberts, and thanks to everyone at FCNI who has ever worked with us. Together we absolutely are enhancing the wellbeing of children and families in partnership with our community!