There are 60,000 children in foster care in California. Being placed in foster care significantly impacts every aspect of a child’s life: emotional, physical, social, moral, spiritual development and well-being. The children have been removed from their families due to neglect and/or abuse. All children enter the system having experienced trauma, loss, neglect and grief.
The Agape Villages Foster Care program represents going above and beyond the minimum foster care placement by recruiting and training high-quality foster families, with the goal of finding placements for even the most challenging foster youth: sibling groups and adolescents.
Agape Villages provides social workers who develop and implement a “Needs and Service Plan” for every child as soon as s/he enters into our agency. This plan is designed to address the specific circumstances of each child to determine the child’s individual needs. The social workers look for a new healthy environment that meets the child’s needs, where healthy family values are modeled, and where children are nurtured. Our social workers visit with each child every week. They have no more than 15 children on their caseload, which enables them to give each child much-needed individualized attention. They are on-call 24 hours per day and also assist foster families with transportation to counseling, doctor’s appointments, and one-on-one outings.
Agape Villages is also fortunate to have a Program Director that is not only a social worker but a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), i.e. therapist. This is a key advantage because due to her education and experience, the director is able to implement interventions and training to staff and families that help foster families sustain the placement of children in the foster home. Foster children often have multiple emotional and behavioral issues, which can make it difficult for foster parents to successfully care for them. Agape Villages is able to offer extensive training regarding topics such as: interventions for anger management, attachment disorders, working with youth with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and working with youth with self-injurious behaviors (including suicidal ideations). This helps ensure placement stability for the child until they reunify with biological family. When reunification is not feasible, the child/ren is able to remain in the foster home and alternate plans are pursued including long-term foster care or adoption.
Here are examples of what Agape foster parents say about their experience:
“I never thought I could be a foster parent being a single mom. The social workers at Agape made it possible for me. I can always count on them to assist me when I need help. I feel secure knowing that my kids will have all the support they need.”
– Iquo O.
“We really appreciate the level of support we receive from Agape Villages. Our social workers go out of the way to sincerely make us feel like an extension of their family.”
– Mark and Laura M.
“I have been a foster parent with other agencies…. Agape is like family. It has been the most rewarding opportunity to work with kids I’ve had because of the kind of support Agape offers. There is a focus on the whole picture-the biological parents, the children, and my family and myself. I am part of a team…. We are all in this together….”
– Glori E.