Host a Foster Child Through Weekend Miracles®
And you will give a child the chance they need to find a permanent family.
Weekend Miracles gives volunteer host families to older kids stuck in the US foster care system.
Through weekends spent together, hosts get to know the kids, support them in their lives and introduce them to their networks. The goal for every child is a lifelong, connected, caring relationship with at least one safe, stable adult. This manifests as adoptions, guardianships, and a long-term mentoring relationships.
Hosting also is a great way to get to know older kids who have been in foster care for a long time and are in need of a family. Currently Los Angeles County operates one of the only hosting programs in the USA, Kidsave Weekend Miracles. Kidsave’s weekend hosts make a one-year commitment to have the child in their homes at least two weekends a month. Monthly community events are held to introduce the kids to people interested in adoption and hosting. In the event that a child isn’t ready for adoption, mentors are recruited, or the hosts continues sticking by the child so they have a long-term relationship.Ta’Wanesha Shares Her StoryClay Shares Her Story
View all of the Weekend Miracles Videos
What you should know — Foster Care is NOT permanent care and is not what these kids need most, a family.
Children cannot raise themselves. Without families, being shuffled from one foster home to another the odds are significantly against them growing into productive citizens – and the loss to society is devastating.
Many children without parents don’t finish high school, they end up homeless and in our prisons.
Among American Kids who aged out of foster care, by the age of 25-27:
- 33% had couch surfed or were homeless
- 33% were pregnant before age 18 and 80% had reported they had ever been pregnant.
- 46% were unemployed but most had some work experience.
- 66% of males and 33% females reported at least one night in jail.
- 66% females and 42% males have been on food assistance.
They are also prime candidates for trafficking, prostitution, terrorists and in other countries becoming child soldiers.
Through weekend visits with host families people have a chance to get to know the children and introduce them to friends, family and associates. Our goal is to connect children in foster care with caring adults, ideally through adoption or as mentors.
We need your help! Get involved.
If you are interested in hosting a child on weekends, volunteering or starting a program in your city please contact us at email@example.com
- PROGRAM DETAILS
Kidsave and the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) work together to find permanent homes for older children in the County foster care system. Their partnership program, Kidsave Los Angeles Weekend Miracles, provides children who have a plan for adoption with the opportunity to spend weekends with host families who help advocate for their adoption. The goal is to introduce children to families who might be interested in adopting them, and to find each child an adoptive family or a connected relationship with at least one adult.
Despite considerable efforts, there are children in foster care for whom no adoptive family can be found, and as children get older they are harder to place. Of the over 500 LA County children currently waiting for adoptive homes, the majority are older African American and Latino children. Nationally and locally, African American children are over-represented in the foster care population. Children from the Latino community are now the largest and fastest growing ethnic group in the County’s foster care system.
The lack of a permanent home places a significant toll on children. Children in foster care are more likely to have delays in growth, learning disabilities, and psychological problems. Many do not graduate from high school, end up on welfare or become homeless.
Kidsave’s Los Angeles Weekend Miracles program finds permanent families for older children, ages 9-17, in County foster care through weekend visits with host families, advocacy and outreach. The program provides a unique opportunity for caring adults to get to know children who need families. Through Weekend Miracles foster youth are placed with volunteer host families on weekends, so that potential families have the opportunity to get acquainted with the children. This contact allows for bonds to be created naturally — without the pressure of having to commit to adopt before becoming acquainted.
Based on the success of Weekend Miracles, LA County has changed how it recruits families for older children.
- HOW IT WORKS
It Just Works!
Be sure to check out all our videos on the video page here. There’s kid’s stories, a documentary by Bob Woodruff and lots more.
- STEPS TO HOSTING
Steps to Hosting with Weekend Miracles
1. Questions? Complete the Host Inquiry Form. Our friendly staff will provide you with more details about the program.
2. Attend a Weekend Miracles Orientation Learn more about Weekend Miracles to see if the program is right for you.
3. Ready to Host? Complete the online application and go through the checklist you will see upon submission.
4. Visit the Host Family Support Center – you will get a password after you submit the application above.
5. Visit the Weekend Miracles Gallery to view the kids in our program who need host and/or adoptive families.
6. Program and Advocacy Training This 2-hour webinar covers program protocols, roles and responsibilities, and provides tools and resources.
Weekend Miracles Training Calendar
7. Attend a 12-hour Host Training Event Info about foster youth, why they are in care and how they are affected.
Weekend Miracles Training Calendar
- Meet kids available for hosting and adoption by exploring their adoption photolistings. These kids are living in group homes or foster homes. Kidsave is seeking families who are willing to host these children and share their family life, mentor them and help them find a permanent home. These are children available for adoption.
SPOTLIGHT – Cierra
Cierra is a joyful girl packed with a confident personality. She is widely talented both in and out of school. She loves swimming and is currently on the volleyball team! A great day for her would include a visit to Hometown Buffet, petting pit bulls, then staying home to watch a movie and chat with her friends or her younger brother Anthony.
Read full bio
- GET INVOLVED
How You Can Get Involved
We need host families for weekends for children in foster care ages 9-18 years old, in Los Angeles County California. Hosts are required to spend at least two days (or two weekends) a month with the child. They have the child as a guest in their home. The goal of a host is to get to know the child and help other adults meet the child so that the child can find an adoptive family or committed mentor. We want every child in California foster care to be able to say “I was in foster care”.
If you are interested in hosting and/or mentoring these kids in Los Angeles County through weekend visits please contact Katie, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Use the links here to get started.
Program Participant Links
FAQ’s About the Weekend Hosting Program
Why does the application require fingerprinting, TB testing, health history and CPR/First Aid?
The application is based on minimum requirements stipulated by LA County DCFS. The County requires a background check to ensure child safety. The health history determines if an adult is physically and mentally suitable to interact and care for foster youth. CPR/First Aid certification and TB test must be renewed every 2 years.
What does the training entail?
Ten hours of training is part of LA County DCFS foster care provider curriculum. The curriculum will help you engage with the youth appropriately. Two hours of training entails information on how to advocate for the foster youth in our program. If you have already completed MAPP, PRIDE or similar Foster Care/Adoption License training, you will only need to complete the two-hour advocacy training.
What are the ages of the kids in the program?
The youth are 9 or older, single children and sibling groups who might have educational, emotional and/or medical needs. They live in foster homes or group homes, and have had parental reunification terminated.
Have parental rights been terminated from the foster youth?
The youth in our program have reunification terminated. In LA County, parental rights are not officially terminated until the youth is in an adoptive placement or has a court ordered adoption plan.
How do I meet the youth and how much time can I spend with them?
Prospective hosts meet and interact with the youth at our monthly advocacy events. Once you are approved by LA County DCFS as a match with a youth, you are approved to spend time with the youth outside of the advocacy events.
Can I host on weekends even if my significant other may not be interested in hosting at this time?
Yes, however anyone living in the same home with you must be fingerprinted and provide a TB test.
Can I host if I live outside Los Angeles County?
Yes, as long as you are able to commit to driving to the monthly advocacy events, and, once matched with a child, transport them to and from your home at least twice a month.
Can I host one child of a sibling set?
This depends on the circumstance and is analyzed on a case by case basis.
Can I bring my own children to the monthly events?
No. It is important that the focus remain on the youth in our program.
How do I inform Kidsave if I’m interested in a particular youth?
At the end of each advocacy event, prospective hosts are given a feedback form on which you indicate any youth by name.
Do the youth have a say in who they are matched with?
Yes, at the end of each advocacy event, youth are given a feedback form in which they indicate the prospective hosts they are interested in getting to know further.
Where do the youth live? Can I be matched with a youth who lives near me?
Youth live with foster families or in group homes in Los Angeles County. Many youth are moved for various reasons at any time. We encourage a natural connection between a youth and host based on personality, character and interest, rather than focus on geographic location of the two parties.
I live in a one-bedroom home. Can I still become a host?
Yes, in this case you may be approved as a day host rather than an overnight host.
Do the youth want to be adopted?
All the youth in the program must be open to a connection. Some are interested in adoption, while others are not.
What if I want to adopt the youth I’m hosting?
Kidsave is not an adoption agency, but we will help you connect with the appropriate resources for adopting should you decide to do so.
Can I volunteer to become a driver?
Yes! Driving the kids is a huge help to the program and a great way to get to know the kids. Let us know if you would like to be a volunteer driver and we will send you next steps.
How else can I help?
- WHAT DOES IT TAKE?
What does it take to be a Weekend Miracles Host Parent?
As a host parent your most important role is your commitment to helping an older foster child find an adoptive family.
If you decide to host, we are sure you will find hosting to be a rewarding experience. The following is an overview to familiarize you with the hosting process and next steps. We understand that there are many steps to complete before hosting a child. This is because each child is a dependent of the court, and the State of California requires that specific standards be met for a child to stay in a host family’s home.
Please do not feel overwhelmed… Kidsave will help you through the entire process!
Host Families will agree to:
- Advocate for the child to find an adoptive family by:
- Introducing the child to individuals in the host family’s network to find the child a permanent family or a life long connection;
- Take the child to monthly Weekend Miracles advocacy events;
- Plan activities/gatherings where the child can meet adults who are interested in adoption.
- Work with the child’s foster parent, Kidsave, and the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services staff.
- Help the host child feel comfortable in the host family home.
- Stay in regular contact with the Kidsave Los Angeles Weekend Miracles staff and submit a Host Family Report after each visit.
- Transport the child back and forth to the host family home for weekend visits and monthly advocacy events.
- Respect the child’s boundaries and maintain the child’s confidentiality by sharing only information that has been approved for release by the Weekend Miracles social worker and the child.
- Be patient with the child and understand that, for many children, being in foster care is a traumatic experience. This experience will affect how they interact with new people; they will likely need additional time to trust others.
Host parents will need to complete the following steps:
- Attend Kidsave’s Los Angeles Weekend Miracles Information meeting.
- Complete and Submit the Kidsave application packet.
- For overnight weekend hosting foster care certification is required. Families must attend a three-hour Community Care Licensing Orientation (CCL) at a location convenient to you. Complete and submit the application packet to CCL (including application for foster family home, applicant information, criminal record statement, emergency plan, control of property document, criminal record, and child abuse clearances for all adults living in the home). After submitting the application packet to CCL, a “pending license/facility number” will be mailed to you, so that you know the application has been accepted. If you are currently a licensed or certified foster parent, the CCL Orientation and packet is not required. Complete a pre-licensing inspection with a CCL analyst to verify that your home is safe. The CCL analyst will contact you to set up this appointment.
- Attend 12 hours of Kidsave Los Angeles Weekend Miracles training, which covers information regarding parenting and advocating for a child in foster care. If you have already completed MAPP/PRIDE training, you are encouraged to attend the training, but it is not be a requirement. Hosts are required to submit a copy of their MAPP/PRIDE completion certificate.
- CPR/First Aid training and certification
- Meet with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) social worker for a face-to-face home visit to address your suitability to host and answer any individual questions or concerns you have about being a host parent.
- Photo album and short bio
What kind of support is available for the children and host families participating in Kidsave Los Angeles Weekend Miracles?
- Kidsave staff and DCFS social workers are available to support children and families as needed
- Kidsave responds to host families “Weekly Reports”
What if I decide that I want to adopt the child I am hosting?
Some host parents may decide they are interested in adopting their host child. We are delighted when host parents and children develop such a strong connection. As soon as you think you might be interested in adoption, please let us know. You should not, however, say anything directly to the child. While you will certainly be considered as an adoptive parent as you have build a relationship with the child, there is no guarantee that you will be able to adopt the child you host. The child’s social worker has a number of factors to consider when assessing an adoptive family. The host family interested in adopting will need to participate in the adoption home study process through DCFS or, if requested, by a dually licensed Foster Family Agency (FFA).
I’m not sure I am ready to host. Is there some other way I can help?
Most definitely! Weekend Miracles depends on the efforts of many volunteers. Other volunteer roles include advocates for participating youth, transporting children to advocacy events, and individuals to plan events or provide administrative support. Please speak with a Kidsave staff member about how you can volunteer in one of these other important roles or sign up here.
- Advocate for the child to find an adoptive family by:
- SUCCESS STORIES
Francisco and Destiny
Francisco was 17 when he was referred to the Kidsave Weekend Miracles program in July of 2012. He had been in foster care for five years, and was living in a group home. Francisco hated living in the group home and jumped at any opportunity to leave, even if it was only for a few hours. Therefore, when his social worker told him about Kidsave’s Weekend Miracles program and our monthly events, he said he would try it, especially since it meant getting to go out one Saturday or Sunday a month. At his first event, Francisco wasn’t interested in participating in the activities and stated he was just “too cool” to join in. However, someone named Destiny was not deterred by Francisco’s attitude, and managed to engage him in some conversation. The rest is history.
In November of 2012, Destiny was officially matched with Francisco as his host family. Francisco spent Thanksgiving Day with Destiny and her family, and then Christmas, too. A few months later, as Francisco walked the stage to get his high school diploma, Destiny, her son, her sister and her sister’s children were all present, cheering him on. In July of this year, Francisco moved into Destiny’s home, leaving the group home behind forever. He’s now attending classes at Santa Monica Community College.
David and John
David, age 15, was born in El Salvador. After a rocky start in life and losing his mother, David was brought to the United States by his brother, who hoped that by coming here he would have a better life.
After spending a couple of years in foster care, David was referred to Kidsave’s Weekend Miracles program. At our events David was incredibly shy, and clearly still navigating the complexities of the English language. However, he had a sweetness to him, and after a couple of events, one of our prospective hosts, John, realized that David’s shyness melted away if you got him talking about anything to do with math or computers.
David and John started spending more and more time together at different Kidsave events. After a while, it was clear that a special bond had developed between them. Last spring, John was officially matched as David’s host. Since being matched, John has taken an active role in David’s life. John was able to get David a used laptop to help him complete his schoolwork. John also communicates with David’s teachers so that he is aware of any areas where David is struggling academically.
David now spends at least two weekends a month at the home of John and his wife, Candace. David and John frequently Skype during the week to go over homework and just check in. This hosting relationship has enabled David to enhance his English skills, and he continues to come out of his shell as he meets and interacts with members of John’s family and friends. Currently, David is taking AP courses at his high school and maintaining a solid GPA.
David is a perfect example of the difference a caring, stable adult can make in the life of a foster youth. Thanks to the support provided by John, David is looking at a brighter future.
Not a stranger to loss, Sari knew in her heart she could successfully parent a teenage in foster care. Sari completed the foster care certification process, but hadn’t found the right match. Then a friend told her about Kidsave.
Sari had always wanted a daughter. She met Eunice at her second Kidsave event. Eunice was 11 and by then had been in 27 placements. In the foster care system since birth, Eunice struggled to be noticed in a sea of unwanted kids. Eunice’s social worker considered her unadoptable. But Sari and Eunice felt an immediate bond on that October afternoon. After attending a few more Kidsave events together, Sari became Eunice’s host family. Eunice and Sari spent weekends exploring, seeing shows, skating, bowling, and enjoying Sari’s friends and family. By the time spring break rolled around, Eunice was calling Sari mommy. On June 21, 2012, Eunice moved into Sari’s home for good.
Although Eunice had been a special education student, Sari believed she could transition into general education classes. Sari worked with Eunice’s new school, and got her tutoring. Slowly Eunice gained confidence in her abilities. Today Eunice is not only in general education classes, but she made honor roll, too!
Last June, Sari made a permanent legal connection and officially became Eunice’s mom. People say Kidsave saved Eunice’s life. But it changed Sari’s life for the better too. Thanks to Kidsave, Sari and Eunice are now a happy family.
James Story – Miracle in Courtroom 404
James had been in the Weekend Miracles program for exactly a year when he first met Gerry and Ruben at the October Kidsave event in 2012. He was also living in a group home, had experienced multiple adoption disruptions, and was starting to lose hope that he would ever find a family.
His Last Hope Fulfilled
Tyree has sickle cell anemia, which complicated efforts to find him an adoptive family, since many did not feel prepared to take a child with medical needs. He had appeared on Wednesday’s Child, an adoption advocacy segment on Fox News sponsored by the Freddie Mac Foundation, twice, with no response. Kidsave was Tyree’s last hope for finding a family.
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