Enhanced Treatment Foster Care
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.
Agape Villages recognizes there are many talented foster children who are unable to develop their creativity because of lack of resources, and this program is designed to intervene.
The Enrichment Program is made available to all of the foster children we serve ages 2 to 21 to enhance their quality of life through positive enrichment activities. Agape Villages underwrites a portion of the cost of extracurricular activities in the areas of music, art, dance, church youth group, summer camp, karate, gymnastics, horseback riding & sports for foster youth. Participation in these enrichment activities stimulates social skills, enhances self-esteem and increases motivation for learning and creativity.
The true beauty of the enrichment activities is that it lets foster children know they are valued. It also provides them with a sense of normalcy that too often is lacking in their lives. Foster families are able to benefit as well, as the program includes opportunities for families to attend various sporting events, theatrical and musical productions, classical performances, and more.
Agape Villages makes all arrangements for private classes, and provides materials needed. We are continually partnering with those who will provide activities to enrich the lives of our foster children.
Monthly Evaluation forms completed by the parents & instructors monitor the success of each child participating in an enrichment activity. Success in school as well as behavioral, social and emotional progress are tracked by agency staff and social workers.
For more information regarding the Agape Villages Enrichment Program for Foster Youth or to make a donation in support of this program, please contact:
Independent Living Skills Program
The Independent Living Skills Program is designed to help foster youth aged 15 through 21 prepare for life as independent adults. Participants learn life skills, receive college preparation instruction, job training, including office etiquette and how to sustain employment, and are awarded a stipend to cover the incidental costs related to graduation including a cap and gown, yearbook, and prom tickets.
Biological parents typically invest a median amount of just under $50,000 on their young adult children after age 18, thus giving them a chance at becoming productive, self-sufficient adults. Foster youth, on the other hand, are thrust into the world at 18 or 21 years of age, with no safety net, and receive on average less than $10,000 of financial assistance. The goal of this program is to prepare older foster youth with the skills necessary to maintain self-sufficiency after emancipation.
In partnership with other community agencies, the program provides assistance with SAT testing/tutoring and college applications, campus tours, driver-education and interview clothes. Students learn personal finance, grocery shopping and cooking, public transportation, basic legal concepts, and appropriate communication and decision-making skills. In order to help navigate their next steps, the program seeks to also provide access to a dedicated Social Worker who directs participants to applicable social services and stopgap resources.
For Foster Parents
For Current or Former Foster Youth
California Youth Connection – engaging current and former foster youth with policymakers to improve the foster care system, while also providing foster youth resources for skill building, leadership development, and a sense of community.
California Youth Crisis Line – a statewide, toll free, 24-hour, confidential Hotline available to teens and young adults ages 12-24 and/or any adults supporting youth.
Foster Youth Help – a site for foster youth to make their voices heard, find resources and get the latest news on policy changes that affect them.
Foster Club – connects foster youth to a supportive peer network and empowers them to create positive change that impacts their life and the lives of other foster youth.