3 Simple Ways to Build a Positive Relationship with Your Foster Child’s Birth Parents

foster-parents
foster-parents

foster-parents

It is easy to have unconditional love for a child in crisis. Opening your home and your heart to a foster child in order for them to become happy and whole again, is very rewarding and heroic. As a foster parent, your primary role is providing safety, comfort and love to a child, but one major challenge that many foster parents face is forming positive relationships with birth parents.

The number one reason you will want this to be one of your top priorities is because it helps the child feel safe, and it greatly benefits the parent as well. You can teach them parenting skills, help them learn effective communication skills, and conflict resolution skills. As a foster parent, you can have a profound impact that can help bring a family back together. To build a good relationship with your foster child’s birth parent, try these tips:

1. Be Supportive

Most children in foster care have been abandoned, abused or neglected by their parents. It can be easy to judge them for their actions, but remember that most of these parents truly want to do better. Instead of criticizing them, offer your support or a word of encouragement when they need it most.

2. Ask Yourself Positive Questions

Temporarily losing custody of a child can be a very painful experience. Many parents experience grief, anger, and a multitude of other emotions. Asking yourself questions such as, “How would I like to be treated if I was the birth parent?” can help you develop empathy and compassion for the parent. When parents feel accepted, and are treated with respect, they will feel more comfortable with you and develop trust, which is the foundation of any successful relationship.

3. Conduct Monthly Family Meetings

An effective way to build a relationship with a birth parent is to create time to meet with them to discuss upcoming activities, school progress and other important information about their child. Parents looking to reunify with their child will not only appreciate being able to take an active role on behalf of their child, but will also form a favorable attitude about you. Having a healthy and successful relationship with birth parents is one of the best things you can do to help support your foster child and give them the stability they need to thrive.

Talk to your social worker about your desire to create and maintain a positive relationship with the child’s birth family and ask them for their suggestions. Your social worker has a wealth of experience and knowledge, remember to share your foster care hopes, concerns and successes with them!


florence-1Florence EdwardsFoster Care Marketing Specialist
Florence has a strong commitment to helping foster youth and their families thrive and live successful lives. A former foster youth, Florence obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Communications from California State University, San Bernardino, and is a certified Holistic Life Coach, motivational writer, self-help author and celebrity interviewer. Beyond the Trinity Youth Services blog, Florence’s articles can be found in numerous platforms including Foster Focus Magazine, Heart & Soul Magazine, BET Centric and Huffington Post. A passionate advocate for the LGBTQ community, Florence continues to educate, support and mentor foster youth throughout Southern California. Email: fedwards@trinityys.org | Phone: (888) 346-9645

Portrait of father and daughter in front of house

Portrait of father and daughter in front of house

It’s that time of year again! Father’s Day is just around the corner and all of us at Trinity Youth Services want to express our greatest appreciation to our amazing foster fathers!

The special role you play in a child’s life creates a life-long, positive impact that will help our youth become successful, caring adults. For everything that you do to take good care of your family, we commend you for stepping up to serve our children and for being positive role models who go the extra mile.

As a dedicated foster parent, we know that your first priority is taking great care of the children in your home. We realize that you have busy schedules and may often put your needs at the bottom of your to-do lists to provide the best of care to your family. While having a strong, healthy family is your main objective, there are some things you can do to take care of your family and your mental health at the same time. Here are a few of our recommendations:

Set Aside Time for Laughter

All too often, the demands of raising a family can be overwhelming and can lead to burn-out. In order to handle a demanding schedule, you need to step out of your daily responsibilities to uplift your mind, body and spirit. One way to accomplish this is including laughter throughout your day. According to a study, laughter has many health benefits. Watching a comedy, talking to someone with a great sense of humor, or reading the comics can lift your mood, increase endorphins and reduce stress.

Choose Your Food Wisely

Do you ever get up in the morning and feel lethargic? When you have a busy life, your body needs the right fuel that will help get you through the day. When you choose healthy food options, you will feel stronger, more energetic, and you will also be exhibiting positive eating habits for your children. Creating a healthy, yet delicious food plan each week can help you feel better and maintain a more calm, healthy mind and body.

Practice Thinking Happy Thoughts

Although having a family is one of the greatest gifts one can have, unmanaged stress can lead to unhappy thoughts and unhealthy behaviors. Check in on your thoughts, especially the ones you have when you first awaken. Pay close attention to any recurring thoughts that don’t feel good and replace them with thoughts that make you smile. Practicing choosing good thoughts for at least 28 days can help you feel happier, and a lot less stress. If you need additional help, learn about the Emotional Freedom Technique, a unique self-help tool that can help reduce tension and create more peace.

For more tips on foster parenting, self-care and raising happy families, sign up for our newsletter by entering your email address at the bottom of this page.


florence-1Florence EdwardsFoster Care Marketing Specialist
Florence has a strong commitment to helping foster youth and their families thrive and live successful lives. A former foster youth, Florence obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Communications from California State University, San Bernardino, and is a certified Holistic Life Coach, motivational writer, self-help author and celebrity interviewer. Beyond the Trinity Youth Services blog, Florence’s articles can be found in numerous platforms including Foster Focus Magazine, Heart & Soul Magazine, BET Centric and Huffington Post. A passionate advocate for the LGBTQ community, Florence continues to educate, support and mentor foster youth throughout Southern California. Email: fedwards@trinityys.org | Phone: (888) 346-9645

adoptive-family-web

adoptive-family-ramirez-in-courtroom2-2

Receiving unconditional love from a supportive family changes an abandoned child’s life forever. At Trinity Youth Services, adoptions are always special times when we celebrate the union of a family and their new child. Helping a child in need connect with their forever family is always a joyous occasion! We are thrilled to announce the adorable new addition to the Ramirez family!

The Ramirez family fell in love with one-and-a-half-year-old Eddie, a happy, healthy and energetic baby boy. On adoption day, Hector, Eddie’s adoptive father, revealed that he was happy and was almost ready to cry. The close-knit family was all smiles during the adoption proceeding, Eddie was very active, smiling and playing with his other family members, including an aunt who provided him with a lot of affection and attention.

Hailing from Riverside, the Ramirezes are a loving couple who have been fostering for three years. They decided to become resource parents after witnessing a close family member’s positive experiences with foster care. “My sister adopted her foster child, and he ended up being a good kid,” Hector explained.

With love and excitement beaming from his eyes, Hector, when asked about the advice he’d give to those considering fostering or adopting, he answered, “I’d recommend babysitting, reading a couple of books to know what to expect long term. It’s pretty much instinct, I think. When you have your first child, you don’t have books that train you on how to be a parent, but you learn as you go.”

foster family

After the court hearing, the Ramirez family cried tears of joy. Hector stated that he was very grateful that he and his family had finally made it through the adoption process. He also revealed how he felt about his adoption experience with Trinity.

“We loved it. They are great people. They work with us. If we have any questions, they’re there to answer them. It’s been perfect. Our social worker has been great. We haven’t had any bad experiences, just a good experience. If you love kids, it’s good to be a foster parent and adopt. If you enjoy kids, adoption is perfect for you,” Hector said.

It’s clear that the Ramirezes have a lot of love in their hearts for children. They are planning to adopt their other foster child in the near future. For more information about becoming a foster or adoptive parent, call 888.346.9645 or email info@trinityys.org.


florence-1Florence EdwardsFoster Care Marketing Specialist
Florence has a strong commitment to helping foster youth and their families thrive and live successful lives. A former foster youth, Florence obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Communications from California State University, San Bernardino, and is a certified Holistic Life Coach, motivational writer, self-help author and celebrity interviewer. Beyond the Trinity Youth Services blog, Florence’s articles can be found in numerous platforms including Foster Focus Magazine, Heart & Soul Magazine, BET Centric and Huffington Post. A passionate advocate for the LGBTQ community, Florence continues to educate, support and mentor foster youth throughout Southern California. Email: fedwards@trinityys.org | Phone: (888) 346-9645

Indian Child Services

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The Continuum of Care Reform (CCR) was designed so that children living out of their home would be provided the most appropriate placement in committed nurturing resource (foster) homes. Services and supports will be tailored based on each child’s needs. All of these services and supports fall into 6 Core Services: mental health, transition support upon entry, educational/physical/behavioral/extracurricular support, transition to adulthood support, permanency support, and Indian child services.

The Trinity Youth Services (TYS) team, along with our resource (foster) families, will directly provide the core services and support to children, Non-Minor Dependents (NMD) and their families, fulfilling the requirements of the CCR.

Previously we outlined the fifth Core Service, Permanency Support Services. This month we will look at Indian Child Services.

When serving Native American children, Trinity Youth Services will ensure they receive all the core services and support in accordance to the Federal Indian Child Welfare Act.

These services will be in the best interest of the children including culturally appropriate, child-centered practices that respect Native American history, culture, retention of tribal membership, and connection to the tribal community and traditions. Trinity Youth Services resource parents are trained to participate in cultural activities with all children on a monthly basis.

This concludes our series on Core Services. Check back next time when we discuss Child Abuse Prevention Month.


Jacqueline Jakob copyJackie Jakob, Foster Care and Adoptions Director
Having over 20 years’ experience, Jackie currently oversees Trinity Youth Services’ operations of foster care and adoptions programs throughout Southern California and in Houston, Texas. She received a bachelor’s degree in law and society from University of California Santa Barbara, a master’s degree in social work from California State University Long Beach and recently became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Jackie enjoys spending time with her husband and two children attending various baseball, softball and judo meets. She is on the parent board for a judo dojo and is one of the troop leaders for her daughter’s Girl Scout troop. Additionally, she really enjoys running half marathons and aims to run 4 to 5 races each year.
Tel: 909.825.5588 | Email: info@trinityys.org

Child Family Meeting

Child Family Meeting

It takes a village, as the saying goes…or a group of impassioned people, as Trinity Youth Services likes to put it. Child and Family Team Meetings are a part of every foster child’s case and are mandated by the State of California as part of the Core Practice Model.

Child and Family Team Meetings are group meetings in which life-decisions about a foster child are discussed and made. These meetings are attended by the foster child, and typically their resource parent, their Trinity social worker, county social worker, family and community members, and service providers. There, foster children get a voice and a choice in the things that matter to them. These meetings are held with the idea that families and children are experts on themselves and have the ability to address their problems and achieve success in a strengths-based setting.

Trinity Youth Services firmly believes in each child having the ability to safely and genuinely express their needs and we are in full support of Child and Family Team Meetings. We believe it is vital to the health of a foster child and their family that their preferences are heard and are part of the decision-making process.

To learn more about our programs, click here and keep an eye out for our upcoming blog posts.


Jacqueline Jakob copyJackie Jakob, Foster Care and Adoptions Director
Having over 20 years’ experience, Jackie currently oversees Trinity Youth Services’ operations of foster care and adoptions programs throughout Southern California and in Houston, Texas. She received a bachelor’s degree in law and society from University of California Santa Barbara, a master’s degree in social work from California State University Long Beach and recently became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Jackie enjoys spending time with her husband and two children attending various baseball, softball and judo meets. She is on the parent board for a judo dojo and is one of the troop leaders for her daughter’s Girl Scout troop. Additionally, she really enjoys running half marathons and aims to run 4 to 5 races each year.
Tel: 909.825.5588 | Email: info@trinityys.org

Foster Level of Care

Foster Level of Care

One thing in life we can be certain of is change. Trinity Youth Services constantly adjusts to changes in policy and adapts to the needs of families served.

The State of California has implemented a new resource family compensation system for caring for foster youth. It is called the Level of Care (LOC) Rate Protocol and the adjustment departs from the age-based rate, to a strengths-based approach which supports a rate for caregivers.

LOC is a State of California legislative mandate that aims to improve and standardize home-based family care (HBFC) rate structures and fully align with Continuum of Care Reform (CCR). It is a strength-based methodology designed to identify the individual care and supervision needs of a child. All placements will be impacted by this new rate structure which is comprised of five core domains spanning across five levels of care.

The Core Domains:

  • Physical
  • Behavioral/Emotional
  • Education
  • Health
  • Permanency/Family Services

The Physical Domain are activities designed to meet the child’s individual daily living needs. The Behavioral/Emotional Domain are activities that promote resilience and well-being and encourage pro-social behavior. The Educational Domain are activities that foster student achievement and educational success. The Health Domain are activities that promote the child’s physical health. The Permanency/Family Services Domain are activities that promote visitation with the birth family, communication, identification and maintenance of life long connections with either biological connections or non-biological connections.

Partial implementation began on December 1, 2017 and the next phase begins March 1, 2018. Trinity Youth Services continually keeps families informed on changes that are important to their success. Look for more news to come about LOC as its full implementation nears.


Jacqueline Jakob copyJackie Jakob, Foster Care and Adoptions Director
Having over 20 years’ experience, Jackie currently oversees Trinity Youth Services’ operations of foster care and adoptions programs throughout Southern California and in Houston, Texas. She received a bachelor’s degree in law and society from University of California Santa Barbara, a master’s degree in social work from California State University Long Beach and recently became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Jackie enjoys spending time with her husband and two children attending various baseball, softball and judo meets. She is on the parent board for a judo dojo and is one of the troop leaders for her daughter’s Girl Scout troop. Additionally, she really enjoys running half marathons and aims to run 4 to 5 races each year.
Tel: 909.825.5588 | Email: info@trinityys.org

rancho-cucamonga-open-house

rancho-cucamonga-open-house

On November 30, Trinity Youth Services in Rancho Cucamonga opened its doors to community members in their new location. “Our goal is to educate and inform the public about foster care as well as give support to families caring for children,” said Director Laura Kassem. “This is an opportunity for the local community to learn more about us and the services we provide.”

At the Rancho Cucamonga, CA office, 13 staff members guide resource parents through the process of creating a stable home for children. One resource parent, a retired woman caring for three foster children under the age of 5, described her experience with Trinity Youth Services. “I receive everything I need to provide these children with a happy and whole life. This lets me concentrate on the joy that they give me and how to give them what they need in a stable family environment.”

What Trinity Youth Services Provides

During their time with Trinity Youth Services, children are matched with resource parents along with all of the services they need for mental, physical and emotional well-being. Trinity Youth Services centralizes support services to ensure a smooth transition for parents and children by providing:

  • Professional guidance on how to best care for foster children.
  • A safe, staff-monitored space for children to meet with biological family members.
  • Treatment services for children from licensed social workers and therapists to heal from emotional and psychological issues that arise due to trauma.
  • Training and support for resource parents to prepare for home-based family care.
  • Intensive support and training for resource parents who care for children with complex emotional and behavioral issues.
  • A child and family team including child, resource parents, social workers, psychiatrist and other experienced staff members to develop the best plan for each child’s future.

All Trinity Youth Services locations feature one-on-one information sessions for potential resource parents and support throughout the entire certification process.

To learn more about becoming a resource parent or schedule a one-on-one information session with Trinity Youth Services, click here.


Trinity Youth Services Kelly BaumannKelly BaumannAmeriCorps VIP Fellow
Kelly specializes in creating and optimizing digital content for the Trinity Youth Services blog. She has ten years of experience as a marketer and has held a variety of positions including content writer, social media coordinator, public relations executive and content strategist. At Trinity Youth Services, Kelly focuses on sharing stories and information to educate the public about foster care, adoption and the programs that Trinity Youth Services provides.
Tel: (909)426-0773 | Email: kbaumann@trinityys.org

Monterey Park

Monterey Park

Trinity Youth Services recently merged all Los Angeles County foster care and adoption offices into one centralized location in Monterey Park. This new location allows Trinity to better access all the families we serve.

Though there were some minor changes, most families were able to keep their assigned social worker. It is important to the agency to maintain the relationships between social workers and families, respecting the level of trust that has been developed over the time with the agency.

Monterey Park

Consolidating the West Covina, Palmdale and Long Beach offices to the one, centralized Monterey Park location reduces expenses and overhead, which in turn allows us to better serve the families and children in our care.

On August 23, the Monterey Park Foster Care and Adoptions Office hosted an open house so that the community and resource families could see the new office. Resource parents met with staff and other families and had the opportunity to share their own inspiring stories. Snacks and juice were provided to guests as they mixed and mingled in the new office.

Monterey Park

“The new office will accommodate not only the growth of the agency, but the addition of mental health services as well,” said Foster Care and Adoptions Director Jackie Jakob.

Trinity Youth Services is so excited to expand our capacity and reach more families looking to create a better future for children in need.

Monterey Park

Interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent? Call 888-346-9645 or fill out our inquiry form to get started.


Jenelle Rensch

Jenelle RenschMarketing & Promotions Specialist
Jenelle maintains a distinctive look and voice for Trinity Youth Services through our online presence, media and community outreach. Before joining the Trinity team in 2016, Jenelle worked in the newspaper/magazine industry for nearly a decade as a graphic designer, photographer, writer and editor. Jenelle earned a bachelor’s degree in visual communications at California State University Fullerton and has won several awards throughout her career including a few from the National Newspaper Association.
Tel: (909) 825-5588 | Email: jrensch@trinityys.org


Trinity El Monte

Trinity El Monte

Author, marine biologist and conservationist Rachel Carson wrote that “Play, incorporating animistic and magical thinking is important because it: Fosters the healthy, creative and emotional growth of a child; Forms the best foundation for later intellectual growth; Provides a way in which children get to know the world and creates possibilities for different ways of responding to it; and Fosters empathy and wonder.”

For youth in foster care, such fundamental development opportunities are difficult to make reality. Furthermore, obtaining a sense of normalcy for a child living on a residential campus certainly has its challenges. Thanks to the support of community partners, children at Trinity Youth Services get a chance to learn basic social skills by going out to eat at a restaurant, team building skills though participation in sports, and opportunities to interact in nature to engage and inspire.

Nonprofit organization, Friends of Foster Children San Gabriel Valley (FOFC), recently donated to Trinity’s El Monte residential campus. The organization was established in 1976 to enhance the quality of life for abused, abandoned and neglected children in the San Gabriel Valley. The organization’s Foster Caring Committee approved a budget to provide 6 residential campuses in the area with spring and summer opportunities and experiences.

“The purpose of the Foster Caring Committee is to provide a resource to these facilities for immediate needs and for us to respond quickly. The facilities present their requests to their appointed liaison prior to each Committee meeting.  The Committee may award funds for cottage enhancements, recreational equipment, holiday parties, graduation expenses, craft supplies, and many more. Foster Caring has a limited budget and we stretch it as far and as fairly as possible at each meeting. We base our decisions on the type of request, the dollar amount and the urgency,” said Carole Kolla of the FOFC Foster Caring Committee.

The Foster Caring Committee chose to fulfill many of the boy’s requests at the Trinity El Monte residential campus including 6 skateboards and pads, 5 video games, 11 DVDs, 5 volleyballs, 4 basketballs and 1 hacky sack. The committee also provided new basketball shorts and swim trunks for their outdoor activities.

The donation also included some off campus activities. Youth in foster care face many challenges as they strive to just feel like a “normal” kid. Clearances and supervision must be in place and youth living on a residential campus can feel cooped up. This is why it is so important for them to have real life experiences off campus and to learn to develop in the area of social interactions. Thanks to FOFC, the youth were able to experience either a Dodger game, a Shakey’s buffet, or a day at Speed Zone this summer.

One group of boys went on “a trip to a favorite restaurant for dinner and an etiquette class, [which is] exciting for the boys who have earned a special off-campus outing,” the FOFC newsletter said. “The youth were given guidance on dressing nicely, how to order, table manners, party smarts, and showing kindness,” said Trinity El Monte Recreation Supervisor, Cathleen Duran.

“I admire Cathleen’s great love and support for the boys on campus and her dedication to Trinity El Monte. She is a pleasure to work with,” Carole said.

garden-el-monte

A surprising item on the boy’s wish list was gardening supplies. They chose a variety of plants and flowers to grow and have been diligent to keep the small garden prospering. “The good news is that the plants are still alive and flowering. Good job boys!” read the FOFC newsletter.

A big thank you to Friends of Foster Children San Gabriel Valley for their generosity in helping provide group enrichment activities, skill building opportunities and social outings during the spring and summer. These experiences are cherished by Trinity youth and staff as we work together with our community partners to bring a sense of normalcy to the lives of youth in foster care. These essential development opportunities truly make a difference as the youth learn to cope with and heal from the trauma in their lives. Trinity strives to be the #1 choice in providing quality care for children and their families, with one goal in mind: permanency for children and families so they can create a better future.

For more information regarding Trinity Youth Services programs, call 800-964-9811 or email info@trinityys.org.


Jenelle Rensch

Jenelle RenschMarketing & Promotions Specialist
Jenelle maintains a distinctive look and voice for Trinity Youth Services through our online presence, media and community outreach. Before joining the Trinity team in 2016, Jenelle worked in the newspaper/magazine industry for nearly a decade as a graphic designer, photographer, writer and editor. Jenelle earned a bachelor’s degree in visual communications at California State University Fullerton and has won several awards throughout her career including a few from the National Newspaper Association.
Tel: (909) 825-5588 | Email: jrensch@trinityys.org


Officially Fullers
Fuller Adoption
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Jack and Kendrena Fuller didn’t lose hope when their doctor told them they couldn’t have children. The couple, who live in Redlands, CA, decided to do something positive with their circumstances. In 2015, the Fullers decided to become foster parents.

Jackson was placed with them first, a hands-on, smart child who continues to wow the Fullers with his ability to be a fast learner. Then came Elyn, a smiley girl whose joy is to make others smile. Both were just a few weeks old when they came into Jack and Kendrena’s lives. Jackson, now 2, and Elyn, just a little over a year old, are officially Fullers.

“There was a hole for us and they filled it,” Jack said. Kendrena added that she would encourage others to foster-adopt. “It’s an amazing experience and a fulfilling feeling,” she said.

Officially Fullers

The whole family was present on the day of the adoption hearing and has been supportive of Jack and Kendrena’s foster-adopt journey from the beginning. “They love the children as much as we do,” Jack said. Family members towed balloons, signs and toys for the children, celebrating and cheering on the growing family.

The day was an exciting one for the Fullers. Kendrena described it as “amazing” and Jack said it was also a relief to officially be the children’s parents. However, the Fuller’s story doesn’t end here. Jack and Kendrena are in the process of adopting Jackson’s biological little sister who is just four months old. “They called us from the hospital. We had about five minutes to decide and we went for it,” Kendrena said. “We’re so glad, she’s a sweet girl.”

Watch for our next blog on the Fuller family as we continue the journey from foster care to adoption. If you are interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent, call us at 888-346-9645 or email info@trinityys.org. You also may begin the process right now by filling out an inquiry form by clicking here.


Jenelle Rensch

Jenelle RenschMarketing and Promotions Specialist
Jenelle maintains a distinctive look and voice for Trinity Youth Services through our online presence, media and community outreach. Before joining the Trinity team in 2016, Jenelle worked in the newspaper/magazine industry for nearly a decade as a graphic designer, photographer, writer and editor. Jenelle earned a bachelor’s degree in visual communications at California State University Fullerton and has won several awards throughout her career including a few from the National Newspaper Association.
Tel: (909) 825-5588 | Email: jrensch@trinityys.org


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