How we help

We are currently focused on the following needs in the foster care world that are not or not sufficiently met by the county, the community or one of the many other wonderful organizations that help current and former foster youth:

  • Meeting individual needs – we help to cover the cost for orthodontic treatment, driver’s training, specialized therapy, enrichment programs and other needs for individual foster youths
  • Fostering enrichment programs – we support trauma-informed programs that offer enrichments such as sleep-away camp or art classes that are geared toward foster youths and their specific situation and needs
  • Fostering foster care – we help spread awareness of the need for foster parents and support the recruitment and training of new foster or “resource” families, as foster families are now called
  • Meeting vocational and educational needs of former foster youth – young adults who emancipated the foster care system often lack the support system of a family as well as the resources to fulfill their educational or vocational goals. We are helping to put young, committed adults with clear plans and goals on a stronger footing for the future by providing grants for educational needs and enrichments such as vocational school and study abroad programs 

Meeting individual needs

We fund specific needs for individual foster youths on a case-by-case basis.

Orthodontics 

Orthodontics are almost impossible to get paid for through Medi-Cal, so many foster children who desperately need braces to improve their dental health and/or self esteem do not get them. The Sonoma County Children’s Village has become the go-to source to help fund this critical need.

Driver’s Training

We help fund professional drivers’ training for current and former foster youth. These young people often have no opportunity to learn to drive from parents or other adults. Yet, being able to drive is often a critical skill in Sonoma County, helping young people hold a job, pursue an education and find somewhat affordable housing.

Other individual needs

Specialized therapy for an autistic child, piano lessons, gymnastics, basketball, summer camp for two siblings who are in foster care because their single parent is deployed with the military and an after-school cheer program are examples of other needs that we have funded that would have otherwise gone unmet.

The foster care community is excited that we are here to help with these urgent needs, and so are we!

Do YOU have a need? If a foster youth or foster family has a specific need that meets the following criteria:

  • you have tried but cannot find funding for it elsewhere, and
  • fulfilling the need would significantly enhance the well-being of the foster youth or their prospects for a better future, or
  • it would enable a foster family to take in siblings,

you may be eligible for a grant through our Extraordinary Cost Program. Please find the required forms by clicking on the following links:

Guidelines Extraordinary Costs Program

Extraordinary Costs Program Request Form

All applications need the approval of the social worker or the CASA. Each application is evaluated by the Board of Directors and decided on a case-by-case basis.

 

Sponsoring Enrichment Programs

In partnership with local organizations, we offer or support trauma-informed programs that enrich the lives of foster children:

Art camps: Child Parent Institute is hosting two free day art camps in the summer specifically for children and teens in foster care, thanks to our sponsorship! These week-long camps give foster youth the opportunity to discover and nurture their creativity and find new ways to express themselves – and just to have fun. The art camps offer a safe, inclusive environment and the sensitive leadership of trauma-informed teaching artists of the Child Parent institute (CPI).

Sleep-away summer camp: Starting in the summer of 2017, we have sponsored 24 foster children in Sonoma County to go on a week-long overnight summer camp through Royal Family Kids. RFK is an all-volunteer organization that puts on a week of summer camp specifically designed for foster children, with trauma-informed counselors and an army of support volunteers who do everything from stealthily changing wet bed sheets (since this a common problem) to putting on a birthday party for all the children at camp (since for many, that is the only birthday party they get) and sending each camper home with an individually crafted photo book full of memories.

Fostering Foster Care

Short of having their own loving forever family, children need nurturing, stable and loving foster families. Which is why we help address the shortage of foster families in Sonoma County by raising awareness and supporting events, recruitment and training for foster families through partner organizations. We were one of the proud sponsors of the 2017 inaugural Celebrate Foster Care event in Santa Rosa and provide stipends for foster parents as trainers for new foster parents in a new program put on by a collaboration of foster family agencies. We are also exploring ways to support foster families in their often challenging task.

… and more to come

It is still early in the new phase of the Sonoma County Children’s Village. We continue to follow the changing policy environment and to explore how we can have the biggest impact. We have recognized the need to work in close collaboration with other organizations in the foster care field to effect change and help foster children as best as possible. Stay tuned!