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By Corie Maue
The statistic is a rough one, heartbreaking, really: at any given time the Riverside County Child Protective Services department has upwards of 5-thousand children in it’s care.
With dwindling numbers of resource families and adoptive parents available, Riverside County Children’s Services is often forced to remove a child not only from their home, but from their town as well.
“Children from Murrieta and Temecula end up being placed with a family in, say, Victorville – far from their schools and friends – because we simply do not have enough local families available to help,” said Mahoney.
Faced with that truth, Child Protective Services is busily building bridges within the community to help prospective foster and adoptive parents gain the training they need to provide care.
“We know there are folks out there that want to help, but the drive to Riverside each week for the orientation and training can be a bit daunting,” said Riverside County Department of Public Social Services Command Post Regional Manager, Susan Mahoney.
One solution to the problem can be found in a group called Faith in Motion.
Modeled after a highly successful program in Orange County, Faith in Motion creates a bridge between the county and the faith community. By resourcing congregations throughout the valley, Faith in Motion gains access to a large audience with a built in sense of sense of community.
“Faith in Motion brings the foster/adopt training program out of Riverside and to the congregation, allowing a large group of local parents to complete the training close to home,” said Faith in Motion liaison, Irene Capen.
Riverside County Children’s Services finds that the program is increasing positive outcomes for the children and for the resource families.
“Fostering and/or adopting a child can be very challenging,” Susan Mahoney explained. “Families that have a strong support system benefit greatly from those additional emotional and practical resources.”
With that said, the county encourages foster and adoptive families from all walks of life.
“Of course, faith is not a prerequisite for participating in the program,” said Mahoney. “Commitment to our children’s future, patience, love and a sense of humor are the qualities a person or family should have.”
Temecula Valley families interested in making a huge impact on the life of an abused or neglected child are encouraged to attend the foster/adopt orientation being hosted this Saturday, March 15th, at Centerpoint Church in Murrieta. Scheduled from 9 am – 2 pm, the orientation will provide an overview of the program and provide guidelines for participation.
“Training will begin the first Saturday in May and will run for four weeks, said Capen. “Those not able to attend the orientation on March 15th may attend orientation in Riverside on either March 28th or April 25th and then join us in Murrieta for the classes.”
Interested parties are to contact Irene Capen to RSVP or inquire: firstname.lastname@example.org or (951) 295-0644.
“We hope that Centerpoint is the first of many faith communities to participate in the program,” said Mahoney. “We welcome the opportunity to partner with any congregation or person who is ready to make a difference in the life of a child.”
For more information on Faith in Motion, contact Susan Mahoney: SUMAHON@riversidedpss.org or 951-413-5471
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