What becomes of the kids left behind?
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% reported they had 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 prostitution, and terrorist groups. And according to the 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report, “populations in the United States vulnerable to human trafficking include: children in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, including foster care; runaway and homeless youth …”
Foster youth have experienced trauma; they don’t always present well when potential adopters read about them. Weekend Miracles brings older foster youth out of the shadows, places a gentle spotlight on them, introducing them to people in the community. Monthly events are held where the youth and adults get to know each other while engaging in fun activities. When someone gets to see their personalities and potential first, they understand that their issues are not barriers, but instead, challenges that they want to help the youth overcome.
Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) identifies the adoptable children who participate in the program. DCFS prepares the child, provides the assessments for and approval of host families, and can facilitate placements and adoption.
Yes, there are other programs based on the family visit model in Denver, Washington, DC, North Carolina and Texas. Learn more here.
The application is based on minimum requirements stipulated by LA County DCFS. The County requires a background check & TB test 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.
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.
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.
The youth in our program have reunification terminated. In LA County, parental rights are not officially terminated until the adoptable child is in an adoptive placement or has a court ordered adoption plan.
Prospective hosts meet and interact with adoptable children 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.
Yes, however anyone living in the same home with you must be fingerprinted and provide a TB test.
Yes, as long as you are able to commit to driving to the monthly advocacy events, and, once matched with an adoptable child, transport them to and from your home at least twice a month.
This depends on the circumstance and is analyzed on a case by case basis.
No. It is important that the focus remain on the youth in our program.
At the end of each advocacy event, prospective hosts are given a feedback form in which you indicate any youth.
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.
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.
Yes, in this case you may be approved as a day host rather than an overnight host.
All the youth in the program must be open to a connection. Some are interested in adoption, while others are not.
Kidsave is not an adoption agency, but we will help you connect with the appropriate resources for adopting should you decide to do so.
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. Email email@example.com.
Volunteer at an advocacy event, fundraise, donate, invite Kidsave to speak at your work, faith-based or civic organization, or simply help spread the word about the kids who need families!
- Questions? Complete the Host Inquiry Form. Our friendly staff will provide you with more details about the program.
- Attend a Weekend Miracles orientation. Learn more about Weekend Miracles to see if the program is right for you.
- Ready to host? Complete the online application and go through the checklist you will see upon submission.
- Visit the host family support center. You will get a password after you submit the application above.
- Visit the Weekend Miracles gallery. View the kids in our program who need host and/or adoptive families.
- Participate in program and advocacy training. This 2-hour webinar covers program protocols, roles and responsibilities, and provides tools and resources.
WEEKEND MIRACLES TRAINING CALENDAR
- Attend a 12-hour host training. Info about foster youth, why they are in care and how they are affected.
WEEKEND MIRACLES TRAINING CALENDAR
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
What does it take to be a Weekend Miracles Host Parent?
As a host parent, you are committed 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 a Kidsave 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 3-hour Community Care Licensing Orientation (CCL) at a location convenient to you. Complete and submit the application packet to CCL (including an 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 a requirement. Hosts are required to submit a copy of their MAPP/PRIDE completion certificate.
- Complete your 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.
- Create a 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 each 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 built 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).
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In Los Angeles County, Kidsave partners with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to help place older foster youth in permanent care. As the largest child protective services agency in the nation, DCFS is responsible for ensuring the safety of more than 2 million children across 88 diverse cities in Los Angeles County.
To discover more kids in the Los Angeles County area that need adoptive families please visit The Heart Gallery. The gallery is a traveling photographic exhibit created to find forever families for children in the Los Angeles County foster care system. Heart Gallery LA partners with professional photographers who generously donate their time and talents to capture the spirit and personality of children awaiting adoption.
The Heart Gallery
Not in LA?
Kidsave Texas Weekend Miracles in Houston is scheduled to launch in February 2020. Learn more here. Similar Kidsave-affiliate and trained programs also exist in Denver, Mecklenburg County and Washington DC.