Attention Knitters and Knitting Circles!

Pick Up Some Warm Red Yarn and Knit Scarves for Foster Youth! The Orphan Foundation of America is coordinating Valentine’s Day Care Packages for foster youth in colleges across the country. They need 2,500 hand-knitted or crocheted red scarves to include in the care packages. I don’t know how to knit, but I recruited my mom and picked up some yarn today.
OFA states: “It is estimated that some 13,000 former foster kids are attending colleges and universities this year, most without any family support. They are success stories merely by showing up: Studies show that less than 50 percent of foster youth graduate from high school, and less than 10 percent go on to post-secondary or vocational training.”
Become a part of this national effort to send a LOUD and CLEAR message that we care about our nation’s foster children.
To help get you started, here some links to on-line yarn and knitting stores:

Youth-Led Emancipation Support Center Opens in Napa

Eight Napa teens start their own youth-led service center to help emancipating foster youth transition to life on their own.
Wow, I’m impressed with their drive and quick results.
These youth want to be an example to their peers…. well they’re a fabulous example to adults working in Child Welfare and non-profits too! Way to go!
I’m going to call about getting a tour at their facility and will post more soon.

Oakland Spotlights Children Waiting For Adoption

Alameda County recently sponsored the 10th Annual Calling Out of Names of Waiting Children. The event, covered by CBS 5, called attention to all the local youth waiting for their own Forever Family. I’ll check with Alameda County to see about matches made this year. Last year, I spoke with a woman who was connected with two young sisters. I’m going to follow up with her and see if the girls’ adoption has since been finalized. What a happy story.

New Foster Care Committee Meets

A few posts ago, I wrote about Karen Bass in our State Congress who is now heading up a new task force on foster care. Yesterday, the Chronicle printed a story about the very first meeting of the Select Committee on Foster Care. The article also lists contact information for all State Assembly people currently on this foster care committee. If you care about kids, please keep this contact info somewhere handy. There may come a time when you may feel inclined to write to your Congressperson.

Exceptionally Qualified Couple Can’t Be Foster Parents, Guess Why.

A lesbian couple – with extensive experience working with abused and neglected children – wants to parent a special-needs child in Missouri but the state’s Dept. of Social Services denies them.
My response (besides “What the…?!”) is:
“Hey Lisa and Dawn, please, move to California! We’d love to have you take care of one of the 80,000 kids in our system here. And we’re opened-minded!”

A Foster-Care Focus

Cross your fingers! There’s someone in State Congress who really cares. Karen Bass, D-Baldwin Vista (Los Angeles County) has requested a Select Committee on Foster Care to make the 80,000 kids in foster care a state priority. The Chronicle’s editorial explains all about it, but the most important part of the whole editorial is the second to last paragraph, pasted here:

“Those on the committee should remember that they — as much as every resident of California — bear responsibility for these children.”

I totally agree! And I commend the Chronicle on saying so (again!) and keeping foster kids in the forefront of California’s social issues. Unfortunately, when you mention foster care, it seems most people jump to blame and complain…. about the system, the foster families, the kids, the money, the resources, the birth parents, social workers, courts, lawyers, schools, government, and on and on. If everyone spent as much time doing something positive instead of talking trash, things might look different.

Time for my favorite Quincy Jones quote:

“Imagine what a harmonious world it could be if every single person, both young and old, shared a little of what he is good at doing.”

What are you good at doing?

Foster Mom Writes Her Memoirs… A Great Read!

I am currently reading Another Place at the Table, by Kathy Harrison – a foster mom.
I’d love to meet her some day. She seems like a great mom, friend, and advocate for kids. No wonder she’s been honored by so many different groups. Here’s an interesting interview and reading guide from the publisher’s page.

Update: I finished this book and LOVED it. Kathy is an inspiration. She’s about to release another book, about taking care of her special-needs daughter.