Collaboration Helps Youth Find a Permanent Home

Recently two Trinity Short-Term Residential Therapeutic Programs (STRTP), Trinity Apple Valley and Trinity El Monte, collaborated to help find a young man a permanent home. Justin (named changed for confidentiality reasons) successfully completed his program at Apple Valley and his transition plan called for him to reconnect with family.

Due to family circumstances, he was unable to go home with his mother, so finding another family member was essential for this young man to gain permanency. According to Justin, the judge in his case did not want him to give up hope for connecting with family and Justin was tasked to identify other family members. With the help of Trinity Apple Valley, they started the process using common sense searches to look for additional family options, adoptions, and explore individuals that may fall under the non-related family member category.

Because Justin was from Los Angeles and the program wanted to connect him with a family member, he was transferred from Trinity’s Apple Valley program to the one in El Monte in September 2018. The Apple Valley program worked closely with El Monte to ensure the handoff was effective and that there was no lapse in the continuum of services provided to Justin, so the transition was successful. The treatment team at El Monte continued the work of Apple Valley by providing a multitude of mental health services, supportive services, promoting a sense of value and accountability, reinforcing positive behavior and transferring to a new high school, with the goal of reunification and permanency ultimately in mind.

The treatment teams at Apple Valley and El Monte programs engaged Justin by exploring all options for pathways to permanency. Justin identified his grandfather as an option, who was subsequently approved as a viable home. The programs collaborated with the Los Angeles County Probation Department to obtain approval for family therapy sessions and Child and Family Team (CFT) Meeting’s, first at Apple Valley and then at El Monte, via telephone with the grandfather because he lives in another state.

Justin accomplished several things while at Trinity El Monte including actively participating in mental health treatment, individual and family therapy, therapeutic behavior programs, substance abuse groups and independent living skills groups, among others and he was able to graduate high school. Most notable was the reunification with his grandfather who committed to providing a stable, permanent home for Justin post-graduation. Justin expressed his elation for the move and excitement about his life after Trinity El Monte. Justin is looking forward to attending college.

This journey to permanency is significant as it exemplified the successful collaboration between the Trinity STRTPs and the Los Angeles County Probation Department. The challenge was not only ensuring services were provided but finding a permanent home which was always the main goal from the first Children and Family Team Meeting. Justin is thankful to Trinity Apple Valley and El Monte for their assistance in his journey. Special thanks go to the Children’s Foundation of America for purchasing the plane ticket for Justin to fly “home” to be with his grandfather.


John NeiuberChief Executive Officer
John leads an agency that serves over 500 children and families daily through residential therapeutic services, mental health programs, foster care agency and adoption services. He received his master’s degrees from California State University, San Bernardino. He is a veteran of the United States Armed Forces and received the Army Commendation Medal. John has been a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and district office administrator in the public schools, and a management and leadership consultant to public agencies and private industry. He was the CEO of Advanced Education Services and became the chief operating officer of Trinity Youth Services in 2002 and CEO in 2005.

Keke Palmer Cinderellas

Photo by Glamour

Keke Palmer is a world-renowned actress, singer, rapper, songwriter and philanthropist who has been mesmerizing audiences since making her acting debut in the 2004 film Barbershop 2: Back in Business. An in-demand legendary superstar, Keke Palmer is the youngest actress and the first African-American to portray Cinderella on Broadway. Her credits include Akeelah and the Bee, Madea’s Family Reunion, Ice Age: Continental Drift, Joyful Noise, Shrink, The Longshots, Nickelodeon’s True Jackson, VP, and Lifetime’s TLC biopic CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story. Keke has also starred in Scream Queens, Hustlers, and many others. She is also the host of Queenpins, a new series by Facebook Watch and Glamour.

Among her many accomplishments, Keke is also the author of I Don’t Belong to You: Quiet the Noise and Find Your Voice, an inspirational guide that encourages millennials to change their mindset and live with more freedom, confidence, and love as they navigate the rough terrain of the 21st century.

A passionate advocate for at-risk youth, Keke gives back to her community by representing nonprofits such as Saving Our Daughters, an anti-bullying and girl-empowerment organization. Her Saving Our Cinderellas Program is a facet of Saving Our Daughters, which is geared towards using music, theatre, film and television to help build self-esteem in girls.

Keke recently recorded a special message for Trinity Youth Service’s foster youth for the Celebrity Love Project, in which she states, “Do not let the pain from your past stop you from achieving the things you want in the future,” and other motivational words of wisdom. View the video below to hear Keke’s entire inspirational message.

For more information about Keke Palmer, visit www.kekepalmer.com, or visit twitter.com/kekepalmer or instagram.com/Keke.

Jillian “JJ” Simmons, a fifteen-year veteran radio host from Cincinnati, Ohio, is more than just another voice to fill the airwaves. As an on-air talent, she has captivated listeners from major cities from across the country, including her hometown Cincinnati (WIZF-FM), Dayton (WROU-FM), New York City (WBLS-FM, where she worked alongside “The Queen of All Media,” Wendy Williams), Indianapolis (WHHH-FM), and Houston (KBXX-FM). Over the years, JJ on the Mic has interviewed many of the rich, famous and influential, including former President Barak Obama, and she has contributed her voice of experience to the ongoing dialogue on the impact of hip hop on the American social and political landscape.

Having lost two uncles to AIDS, JJ is also a champion of AIDS education and awareness. In response to her loss, she founded the J Darcey AIDS Foundation. As part of her awareness initiative, she also founded Red Tree Tees, an apparel company which uses hip hop infused tees as a tool of activism to emphasize the importance of getting tested.

In addition to being a positive influence on people she meets through her work, JJ is a proud mother. She uses her passion for the” mommy experience” to advocate for higher quality prenatal care in underprivileged communities. Although she has always had an innate desire to empower others, raising a daughter has deepened her desire to foster change in the lives of women, and inspired her to create the I’m Me Foundation. In keeping with her mission to create opportunities for positive social interactions and character-building experiences, the I’m Me Foundation provides tools to improve the esteem and self-worth of girls and young women.

JJ has chronicled her own personal experiences from a past abusive relationship and the journey to healing in her book, “Without Bruises,” designed to give guidance to others who find themselves in harmful situations. Her “Without Bruises: Help, Hope and Heal Series” is a collection of focus groups in collaboration with Therapist and Life Coach, Wendi Johnson-Turner, taking place in Houston. She invites the public to share their stories, champion one another and get healthy tools for healing.

JJ is currently excited to be part of Trinity Youth Services’ Celebrity Love Project and share some words of encouragement for girls in foster care. In her inspiring video message, JJ says, “Whatever you are going through, whatever you have been through, does not define who you are. You are not your circumstances.” She goes on to say, “You are qualified and worthy of greatness. You are greatness.” View the full video for more inspiring words from JJ Simmons.

Summer can be an exciting time for kids, but if you’re like most parents, you worry about how you’re going to keep your child active and happy. There are many free or low-cost activities you can do with your kids that are fun and educational. Here are some great activities you can do with your child that will also help you save money.

1. Visit Another Country Without Leaving Home

Use Wikipedia to teach your children about the cultures of other countries and try adopting some of their customs or meals for one day. Here are some additional tips you may find helpful.

2. Visit Your Local Public Library

Libraries in your area may offer summer reading programs for kids. Click this link to learn additional information for San Bernardino County. Click here for LA County, and click here to find out more information for Riverside County.

3. Create a Reading Challenge

Did you know that kids lose approximately two months of reading skills during the summer? To keep your child’s reading skills sharp, encourage your children to read by creating a summer reading list of books of their choice, then create a reward system when they read a certain number of books. You can also check out Scholastic’s website. They have free reading challenges where kids can win virtual prizes. Click this link for further information.

4. Attend Free Workshops

Some stores in your area may offer free classes and workshops for kids. Home Depot may have free workshops for kids. Click this link for more information.

5. Visit a Local Museum

Some museums may offer free tickets for kids. Chino Youth Museum is an interactive, hands-on museum. Admission is free on the first Friday of every month. Click this link for more information.

6. Give Back to Your Community

One way to help increase your child’s confidence, social skills and compassion for others is by showing them the importance of giving back. There are many volunteer opportunities in the Inland Empire where kids and teens can donate their time to help the less fortunate. ieVolunteer is a program of Inland Empire United Way. Click here to discover more information on how your child can be involved.

To find out more exciting summer tips that will create more fun for the entire family, be sure to read next month’s newsletter!


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.

teen-foster-mom

Laura Kassem

Laura Abujudeh-Kassem

“You never know what you’ll be good at until you try,” is Laura Abujudeh-Kassem’s motto. It’s one she lives by as a passionate Intake and Foster Care Office Director for Trinity Youth Services. Laura’s personal and professional mission is helping youth find safe, supportive families who can nurture their growth and help them thrive.

Teen moms, medically-fragile babies, and children with special needs can be more difficult to place due to the negative stereotypes that persist about their perceived challenges. To increase the interest in these special populations, Laura goes the extra mile to help ease the fears of foster parents by educating them about the needs of the youth, acknowledging the youth’s strengths, and helping the parent adopt a positive outlook on fostering. Providing honest dialogue about expectations as well as discussing the type of assistance they will receive has proved to be beneficial.

“I encourage foster parents to take older youth because it’s our biggest need. I ask them to be willing to accept calls for children of all ages,” Laura said. Laura’s ultimate goal is making them feel confident enough to take in youth who are seemingly high-risk. She lets them know that they are never alone and always have access to resources, guidance and support.

“I want foster parents to think, ‘If I give a child my all, and have the support of the agency, I think I can do it,'” Laura said. Encouraging a foster parent to extend their comfort zone isn’t always easy, but Laura is determined and never gives up if she believes a foster parent and child are a good fit.

“A parent said she didn’t want to work with teens. She had already raised her daughter and only wanted to foster babies. I received a call one day about a college-bound teen mom who had an infant son, and the county needed a home for them. I thought, ‘I’ll call this mom. I felt like she could work with her.’

“When I called, I said, ‘I have your baby that you’ve been waiting for, but he has a teen mom with him.’ The foster parent said, ‘No, I can’t do that.’ I said, ‘I will tell you about her. She’s a college-bound, responsible teen mom. She just needs your guidance the same way you’ve raised your daughter to be successful. Help her transition in her life. I believe you can do this.’ I empowered her. She told me she’d give it a try.”

After opening-up her heart and her home to the teen mom, something amazing took place. According to Laura, “The foster parent had a positive experience and was able to help her transition to college and helped her get an apartment. Then, she became our ‘Foster Mom for Teens’ in San Diego County. She talked to potential families about her fostering experience. She was able to succeed due to the support and encouragement she received from our staff. She also made a point to reach out to us when she needed resources or support.”

Going above and beyond to help youth in crisis, as well as helping foster parents succeed, is what makes people like Laura and the Trinity Youth Services staff stand out above the rest.

“I believe in our families,” Laura said. “We help guide them and let them know that they are part of a team. They can always reach out to us for support.”

Laura Abujudeh-Kassem is the Trinity Youth Services foster care director in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. If you are in the area and are interested in becoming a resource parent under her supportive team, contact her office at 888.346.9645.


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

child abuse prevention monthAbused and neglected children face trauma beyond what we can physically see. Studies show that the psychological effects of physical and emotional trauma can be long-lasting and can even lead to suicide if left untreated.

Trinity Youth Services is dedicated to the health and well-being of abused and neglected children. Our passion is improving the lives of children who have endured abuse, and to help them transcend the harrowing statistics that often plague them.

According to the Children’s Bureau, some effects of child abuse can include depression and anxiety, which can lead to smoking, alcoholism, drug use or overeating. Long-term physical health problems, such as cancer and obesity also threaten this vulnerable population of children. The physical remnants of abuse and neglect often heal, but very often, the psychological effects require specialized attention.

To combat this devastating, widespread issue, Trinity Youth Services has contracted with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, the San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health and the Riverside County Behavioral Health System to provide an array of mental health services. Answering the call of children in crisis, Trinity Youth Services offers individual and family therapy, medication support, therapeutic behavioral services and in-home behavioral support with an emphasis on trauma-informed interventions.

At Trinity Youth Services, each foster child is given specific tools they need to thrive mentally, physically and emotionally from caring, trusted and experienced mental health experts. Every foster child receives a comprehensive assessment upon admission into our resource homes and for those who meet criteria, receive individual therapy on a weekly basis by a qualified therapist.

Trinity Youth Services also offers three other evidence-based practices focused on complex mental health issues. Seeking safety is a trauma-informed model of therapy that addresses alternative functional coping skills. Trauma focused cognitive behavior therapy addresses the bio-psychosocial needs of the child in an individual and conjoint setting. Managing and adapting practice is an approach to therapy that uses multiple treatment modalities that are implemented on an individualized basis.

In addition to our mental health programs and treatment modalities, Trinity Youth Services practices trauma-informed intervention to enable foster children to feel respected, informed and connected with an aim to instill hope and empowerment in a sensitive non-judgmental manner. With over 60,000 children served since its inception, Trinity Youth Services continues to create and maintain supportive programs for foster youth that will help them increase their confidence, essential social skills and achieve a positive self-identity.

Why do foster children need ongoing mental health support?

According to Psych Central, some foster children may exhibit behavioral disorders and learning challenges. These youth need special mental health services because they need to feel confident about themselves, feel respected, safe and understood. They need to learn how to cope after the trauma they have experience in a way that isn’t harmful.

Trinity Youth Services’ mental health services help create a better future for foster children because they assist them in creating an understanding of what they went through, develop their self-esteem and help them learn to cope in positive ways by building hope for their future and trust within their relationships.

Trinity also conducts child and family team meetings, at which the child and their resource family are encouraged to be the experts in their own lives. It is a team approach to helping foster children that includes social workers, therapists, resource parents and others involved in their well-being. The foster child is given a voice and a choice in their treatment and to recognize what they are good at and what they need in order to thrive.

Trinity Youth Services also employs interventions, which have been shown to be very effective in decreasing emotional or behavioral problems, lessening depression and anxiety, improving physical health and healthy attachments. These mental health interventions can also improve a foster child’s skill development, education and employment.

At Trinity Youth Services, we take pride in our commitment to help children and families create a better future. It all starts with supporting our foster youth and helping them live successful, fulfilled lives.

Click here for more information about Trinity Youth Services programs.


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

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