(VENTURA COUNTY, Calif.) — Foster VC Kids, a program of Ventura County’s Children and Family Services, will host a free, informational Town Hall on Saturday, April 21 from 10am to 11:30am at 855 Partridge Drive in Ventura. Residents interested in helping local children and teens are encouraged to attend and learn more about the urgent need for Ventura County homes to support youth in care.  Panelists will include former foster youth, current foster parents and birth parents who will share their perspectives and answer questions about foster care in Ventura County.

“You loved every single piece of me even if it was horribly broken and I truly believe that your love was the first step in putting me back together again,” 18-year old foster youth Betty wrote in a holiday letter to her foster mom, Liz Thiele.  Thiele, who has fostered nearly 40 children and teens in Ventura County, and her foster daughter Betty, will be among the Town Hall panelists who share their personal stories.  Thiele explained to Betty that “when I got to foster teens, my heart grew bigger and bigger…it’s an honor and privilege to call you my daughter.” [link to video footage of Betty and Liz,1:21]

“We’re all better off when children in our community thrive,” said Ventura County Supervisor Steve Bennett.  Bennett and other community leaders are participating in the outreach efforts to encourage families to make either a short-term or long-term commitment to provide guidance, hope and a home for local youth in care. Those interested in fostering, adopting or mentoring can learn more by viewing the 26-minute online information session at www.fostervckids.org, calling 805-654-3220 or attending the April 21 informational Town Hall meeting.

Additional panelists include local foster parent Natalie Torres who has provided a home to nearly 70 youth, as well as foster alumni Lucy who will share her perspective about being separated from her siblings while in care.  Angelina McCormick-Soll, Program Coordinator for Foster VC Kids explains, “More homes are urgently needed, especially in the cities of Ventura and Oxnard.  We’ve had a rise in the number of children over 16 years of age who are in care, from 17% last January to 21% this year. These teens are in jeopardy of aging out without ever having had a permanent home life. Children who age out of foster care are at much higher risk for homelessness, teen pregnancy, and incarceration. And, a heartbreaking 47% of our youth have been separated from some or all their siblings.”

Foster VC Kids works to protect these children by ensuring they are placed with fostering and kinship families who have the support and resources to provide safety, permanency and quality care.  Extensive training and support services (including medical and dental care) are available to ensure caregivers have the resources to nurture, protect and care for local youth in need. 

Town Hall informational meeting:

Who:  Open to all community members interested in helping local foster children and youth
When:  Saturday, April 21, from 10am – 11:30am
Where: Children and Family Services building, 855 Partridge Drive in Ventura

Questions:  www.fostervckids.org or call 805-654-3220

About Foster VC Kids, a program of Ventura County’s Children and Family Services

Recognized as a best practices leader statewide in the family recruitment and support component of child welfare, Foster VC Kids provides resource families with ongoing support services, trauma-informed training, and mentorship to enhance the safety, permanency and well-being of Ventura County’s youth and families.  Learn how Foster VC Kids is making a difference throughout Ventura County, www.fostervckids.org.