One of the founding principles of the Family Care Network is to “always do the very best for the children and youth we serve.” Key staff and I are always on the hunt for the most effective interventions, best practices and program models which will bring the most benefit to our clients; to enhance the wellbeing of children and families. With this in mind, I am very excited to announce that the Family Care Network has opened a new door of service to our community, another means of doing our very best for kids–we will be officially licensed as an Adoption Agency within the month!
Becoming an Adoption Agency has been a long arduous process. I started the Family Care Network based on the premise that foster children and youth are best served in families; even when they have serious emotional and/or mental health needs. Thus, our branding: the “Family” care network. We have provided Therapeutic Foster Care for 27 years based on the belief that foster care should never be a final destination or outcome for a child! Foster Care should only be a temporary intervention, a stepping stone to permanency. Over the years we have worked hard to facilitate permanent placements through family reunification, kinship care, and guardianship and adoption. In less than a decade, we have seen over 250 children in our care served by adoption, 95% by our own families. But, we have always been dependent on other agencies to transact the adoption process, sometimes taking far longer than it should and adding a whole new set of players and intrusion into the life of the child/youth and family. So, we set out to solve this.
Three years ago I pursued the acquisition of a large, well-established adoption agency. We came within a few months of consummating the deal when I pulled the plug, determining that to do so would compromise the integrity and efficacy of our organization. Immediately after this effort was stopped, the Family Care Network applied for its Adoptions license. Seriously, it has taken over two years to get through the morass and obstacles of the state approval and licensing process. But we stuck with it and achieved our goal.
When I started in the human services field 40 something years ago, placing children into foster care until they aged out of the system was common practice; but it was not a best-practice. It took decades for public policy to catch up with doing what was best for foster children. Even though the motive was primarily financial—it costs a lot to keep a kid in a foster home until they turn 18—the outcome was right. Children and youth need to be in a permanent family, whether it be their own or through adoption. Now, the Family Care Network has the tools and skills needed to make sure this happens!
Concurring with our becoming adoptions licensed, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties were selected as the first in the state to implement a new “Resource Family” approval pilot project (RFA). The RFA is designed to streamline the process for becoming a foster parent, adoptive parent or a kinship provider. Basically, instead of being licensed or approved as a foster or kinship provider, and then have to go through the process once again in order to adopt, there will now be a single process which will approve the family for whatever best serves the child. Our agency will now be joining several other local adoption agencies in providing the permanency approval home studies for these families.
But, the new Family Care Network Adoption Program is not limited to serving children and youth within the foster care system. We can now provide private adoption services for families wishing to adopt outside of the child welfare system.
Passing this milestone is an important accomplishment for our organization because it enhances our ability to “always do the best for children and youth!” I only have to think about my own family, my parents and siblings, and my wife and I raising our three sons, to be reminded of how important “family” is. I feel very privileged that the Family Care Network can now help children and youth have their own, permanent family.
To learn more about the Family Care Network Adoption Program please call (805) 781-3535