Transforming Trauma-Affected Children Through Love: Rosa’s Journey as a Foster Parent

foster grandparents
foster grandparents

foster grandparents

Rosa’s unconditional love for children and passion for helping them succeed, led her to become a foster parent. Fostering since 2004, Rosa’s dream of caring for children in crisis has not always been easy. She has helped raise several children for over a decade, but the rewards have far surpassed the challenges she has faced on her journey.

According to Rosa, “Seeing the change in the kids, teaching them respect, and seeing the difference it makes, makes us feel good. I currently have three girls and one boy, but I’ve had over 180 children. They come from broken homes, but we give them stability. Having a lot of love, understanding and patience is important. The kids change when they see you work with them.”

Raising abused, neglected and abandoned children and teaching them to become empowered, resilient and successful is Rosa’s mission. Juggling a busy schedule, Rosa takes time to not only provide children with love and support, but also helps them thrive scholastically. According to Rosa, “Most of my kids get recognized in school. One child, who we thought had a learning disability, didn’t know how to read. We helped him learn how to read and do math problems, and he received an award. When you want to [help], there is always a way.”

Since his retirement, Rosa’s husband has taken an active role in helping her care for the children. Happy to help make a difference in the lives of children and their families, Rosa plans to continue to open her home to children who need it most. She especially feels a sense of accomplishment when children go back with their families.

“It’s good to see parents do what they need to do so that the child goes back to them. It’s all about reunification. It’s all about loving the kids and wanting to help them,” Rosa says.

For more inspiring stories, stay connected by signing up for our newsletter below.


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

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

Trinity Youth Services El Monte

Trinity Youth Services El Monte

Providing hope, happiness and security to a youth in crisis is our top priority at Trinity Youth Services. We are committed to providing our youth with experiences and activities to help them feel valued, become well-rounded and teach them important life skills so that they may grow into successful adults. One of the reasons we are able to accomplish our goals is through the help of generous donors who share our vision and are committed to helping us change lives.

We are thrilled and deeply honored by the continuous support we receive from Friends of Foster Children (FOFC). Due to their steady contributions, our El Monte youth were able to attend an exciting Dodger’s game, keep cool at Raging Waters, experience horseback riding, learn how to fish, and have their campus Christmas wishes fulfilled to supply their campus with activities like an additional gaming console, more controlers and new games for their game room.

Youth who achieved academic success or excellent attendance records were invited to visit Universal Studios for a day of fun, laughter and adventure!

Some of the youth attended one of the world’s most popular, off-Broadway shows called “Stomp” at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. “Stomp” is considered a journey through sound, a celebration of the everyday and a comic interplay of characters wordlessly communicating through dance and drum.

“I want the boys to experience that there is more to life through these experiences,” said campus activities director, Cathleen Duran. “They’re not exposed to a whole lot at home—they aren’t often given the opportunity.”

Trinity Youth Services would like to thank Friends of Foster Children for their generous contribution and their unwavering commitment to helping our youth thrive and live successful lives.

“They have continuously provided for the youth on a regular basis so they can have activities,” Cathleen said. “We have been pretty blessed from them in so many ways. They really contribute to this campus. They’ve been giving since before I’ve been here and I’ve been here for 25 years!”

Cathleen continued, “Sometimes I hear from the youth after they complete the program and they they remember these enrichment experiences. That’s what gives me joy. Friends of Foster Children makes it possible.”

Having unwavering support from the FOFC has given our youth new opportunities to experience life outside of their circumstances, connect with their peers and learn effective coping skills that will help increase their social skills and self-confidence. With heartfelt gratitude, we wish to thank the FOFC for their role in helping our youth live happier lives and empowering our next generation of adults.


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

Siblings sitting on floor in yard

Mother and daughter hugging.

Trauma-affected children, who have been removed from their families, often struggle with feelings of inadequacy and can suffer from low self-esteem. Self-esteem has to do with how someone perceives themselves. If a child believes that they are unworthy, damaged, or unwanted, he or she is more susceptible to forming addictions, engaging in unhealthy behaviors and succumbing to peer pressure. According to a recent article from Simply Psychology, children with low self-esteem frequently engage in bullying, quitting, cheating and avoiding.

Here are some common signs that your child may be suffering from low self-esteem:

  • They are critical of themselves
  • They focus on their perceived failures
  • They use negative language to describe themselves
  • They are hesitant to try new things
  • They consistently withdraw from their peers

One of the biggest indicators of low self-esteem is when children constantly compare themselves to other children, and often feel like they fall short. To help enhance your child’s self-esteem, you must take an active role in their lives and show them that your love for them is unconditional. Here are a few tips you can use to help your child increase their self-esteem:

  • Help your child feel accepted into your family: For many foster children, the feeling of belonging can help them feel wanted and valuable. Creating a safe, nurturing environment where your child feels accepted is especially important because many foster children have reported feeling like outsiders. Treat your foster child with respect and love and include them in family outings. Also, create a space in your home that’s just for them. Hang up pictures of them and get their input about what activities they’d enjoy.
  • Try a self-esteem boosting exercise: Have your child state/write things they like about themselves every night before bed or in the morning before school. This activity will help them begin to adopt more positive thoughts about themselves over time, and can reap huge rewards that will last them a lifetime.
  • Model healthy self-esteem: Kids often mirror the adults around them. Saying positive words about yourself, staying calm when you make a mistake, having healthy expectations of yourself, and practicing patience and kindness with yourself during stressful times can have a tremendous impact on children.

To learn more about Trinity Youth Services’ programs and support for resource families, call 909.825.5588 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

Beautiful diverse family

National Foster Care Month

Being a foster parent is something that comes naturally to Waridi Heard, a resource parent at Trinity Youth Services. After raising her own children, Waridi felt it was her calling to help boys in crisis live happy and successful lives. Currently fostering three boys, Waridi’s mission is to help traumatized boys learn the value of self-love, compassion and respect.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a foster parent?

A: Seeing a child transform before my very eyes. Seeing young men have self-respect, the ability to respect others and be able to receive and give love back. It’s a joy seeing their chivalrous behaviors and teaching them how to be of service.

Q: How did becoming a foster parent change your life for the better?

A:  I worked alongside of my mom. She had a group home in 1990 and had it for about ten years. We helped care for medically fragile children, and I saw the need. I also saw that you could treat the children like your own child. I believe that God placed it in my heart. Our young men are suffering. I want to give boys the opportunity to live and do so more abundantly.

Q: Why was becoming a foster parent important to you?

A: I realized that it was my purpose. Giving back to children is where my gift is. It has opened up the parameters for me to see them grow up, move on to have an enjoyable life and be able to demonstrate love. I feel joy watching them go from being insecure and scared to feeling safe, secure and stable.

Q: What would you like to tell other people who may be thinking about foster parenting but are unsure?

A: Be the best foster parent you can be and look at them like they are your own children. Provide unconditional love to them. Practice patience and acceptance. You may take a couple of steps forward and one step back, but it is ok.

Q: What is your secret to being a successful foster parent?

A: Providing unconditional love, safety, security, stability and consistency.

Q: What is one myth about foster parenting that you once believed?

A: Some people feel that foster children are a lost cause, but they aren’t. They desire to be part of a family and desire to be loved. Being a consistent, loving parent: change just happens. They come in broken, but it’s a blessing and joy that I can see miracles right before my eyes. I really couldn’t do it without Ms. Laura [Foster Care Director] and Trinity’s support and direction. This is a team effort.

Stay tuned for more exciting parenting tips, inspiring stories and supportive resources! For more information, email info@trinityys.org or call 800.964.9811.


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

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


transition-to-adulthood

transition-to-adulthood

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 Native American 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.

Last month we outlined the third core services, educational/physical/behavioral/extracurricular supports. This month we will look at transition to adulthood support.

This core service is critical to our older youth in care. Think back to when you were 18.  Were you ready to live on your own with no support whatsoever?  Extended foster care changed policies so that youth could stay in foster care through the age of 21 years old, allowing four more years of preparation time for the youth to be successful as adults. During this extended time in foster care, the NMDs must meet certain criteria to remain eligible for services. For example, they must be in school or working.

TYS is committed to supporting children and Non-Minor Dependents in achieving a successful adulthood. A huge part of this support comes from resource families opening their homes to teens and making them part of the family. Treatment Foster Care Social Workers (TFCSWs) along with the resource parents work closely together to provide educational and employment support to the youth by assisting in job search, support in completing job applications and providing the youth the opportunity to visit local colleges.

TFCSW will assist in the implementation of the Transitional Independent Living Plan (TILP) by working directly with the youth on achieving goals set within the plan. Youth will participate in independent living skills groups. Additionally, TYS will assist youth in establishing lifelong connections by assisting the youth find and connect with family and/or nonrelated family members.

In my next blog, I will discuss permanency support. This topic dives into the important support offered to TYS youth as the agency and families strive to achieve a permanent environment for children in foster care, either through reunification or adoption.


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


 

Brenes

Brenes Adoption

Brother and sister, Cesar (13) and Betzaida (12), were placed into foster care eight years ago. They were detained from their birth mother, placed into the care of their older sister, then were also removed from her care. With their father deceased and no other family to provide them the care they needed, Trinity Youth Services began a search for a loving forever family. Three years ago, they were placed with resource parents, Maria De La Torre and Francisco Brenes.

“Ever since the children were placed in our home, they asked to be adopted,” Maria said. Francisco and Maria didn’t need much convincing. They were happy to grant the children their wish of becoming a family.

“They didn’t have anyone to care for them. They didn’t have a stable home,” Maria said, and on May 4, 2017 the children legally became the children of Maria and Francisco. “Today, I feel hope that everything is going to be ok and happy.”

As they waited in the lobby for their adoption court hearing, Cesar said he was, “feeling good about today,” to which his sister nodded in agreement.

judge

Francisco, Maria and the children had been waiting with anticipation for their adoption. “There was a lot leading up to this day and now everything is coming into place,” Maria said, explaining that it was well worth it.

In the hearing, the family signed paperwork, were explained their rights as a family, and were proclaimed a legally recognized family with all cherished responsibilities and benefits. Maria and Francisco hopped up to give their new family members great-big bear hugs. The children understood the seriousness of the day and once the judge made it official, they began to smile from ear to ear. A sense of relief washed over their faces knowing they now officially belong to a family.

brother-and-sister

Francisco and Maria look forward to encouraging their children in their interests and schoolwork, Cesar with his soccer and “Betzy” with her love for art and animals. “They love outdoor activities,” Maria said.

The Brenes family also foster a 3-year-old girl and a one-year-old boy, they are parents to children in their 30s and are grandparents to a 4-year-old little girl. Maria encourages others to foster and adopt. She is currently convincing her daughter of how rewarding it can be to care for a child whose greatest wish is to belong to a loving family.

Francisco

If you are interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent, contact Trinity Youth Services to make a child’s wish for a family come true: 888.346.9645 or info@trinityys.org.


Jenelle Rensch

Jenelle Rensch, Marketing 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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