Foster Children's Resource Center
Foster children may have been victims of or witnesses to domestic violence; suffered repeated sexual, physical and/or emotional abuse as well as neglect; or been abandoned by parents who are struggling with alcoholism, drug addiction or emotional instability. Responding to this dire community need, the Foster Children’s Resource Center provides urgently needed clothing, school supplies and personal care items to these children. Volunteers provide individualized attention too each child while also helping to ease their stress and fears.
What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?
Support for Foster and Systems-Impacted Youth
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
San Fernando Valley
Other:: Santa Clarita Valley
In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?
Expand existing project, program, or initiative
What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?
According to the DCFS, almost 30,000 children are currently under their supervision. They may have been victims of or witnesses to domestic violence; suffered repeated sexual, physical and/or emotional abuse as well as neglect; or have been abandoned by parents who are struggling with alcoholism, drug addiction or emotional instability. Situations also arise wherein foster families are deemed unsuitable hosts and children must be swiftly removed from these settings. Due to the urgency that DCFS removes children from perilous situations, they often have nothing but the clothes on their back. Children in these dire situations are referred to FCRC by the DCFS for services. The plight of children under court and DCFS supervision can be difficult to imagine. It is at this point where FCRC makes the greatest impact. FCRC volunteers help soften the hardships these children experience by providing them compassionate and individualized attention, making each child feel cared for and special.
Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.
FCRC is a specialty shop equipped with dressing rooms and a wide array of clothing in various styles and sizes, along with other essential supplies for children from infants to young adults up to age 20. Each child is referred to FCRC by DCFS social workers. Foster families or caregivers arrive at pre-scheduled appointment times, ensuring that each visit is special and discrete. When children first enter FCRC they tend to be withdrawn and reticent having been traumatized by their current situation, so volunteers make every effort to treat each child with loving care, respect, and dignity. Volunteers act as personal shoppers and guide children through beautifully displayed items, allowing them to select and try on clothing. They are supplied with new school uniforms (depending on their age) and other contemporary street apparel, backpacks, school supplies, socks, shoes, underwear, jackets, pajamas, hygiene kits (including masks and hand sanitizer), and pillowcases or infant needs like diapers and blankets. Volunteers work thoughtfully with children who are fearful and wary of others. They make each child feel safe and welcome and are rewarded when they see expressions of sadness turn to joy. Volunteers describe children’s excitement when visiting FCRC who view it as a magical place. Some children are overwhelmed when given their own toothbrush for the first time, or express that they did not know what pajamas or pillows were.
Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.
Our vision for success is that at least 3,000 foster children in L.A. County will be provided with urgently needed supplies. Foster families will benefit from the support they receive as well. These children will feel more secure and confident. They are likely to improve their school attendance and consequently academic performance. A positive PK-12 education experience has the potential to be a powerful counterweight to the abuse, neglect, separation, impermanence and other barriers these vulnerable students experience. Additionally, participation in and persistence to a postsecondary credential can enhance their well-being, help them make more successful transitions to adulthood, and increase their chances for personal fulfillment and economic self-sufficiency. In the long run, when foster children do better, so do they people they associate with and so does the community they live in.
What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?
We measure impact by tracking numbers served. We also document stories from foster families and social workers of how FCRC impacts children. Some examples: a homeless family of five living in a shelter came in and their a five year-old son only wanted a blanket because he was cold at night, then clutched it to his chest as his most prized possession; a foster mom who received a 4 month-old infant wearing nothing but a diaper was thrilled to receive blankets, clothing, diapers, formula etc.; a 4 year-old girl, in foster care for two weeks, had not spoken a word but began talking and laughing after her visit to FCRC; Dominic arrived at a new foster home with only the clothes on his back. Dominic, formerly Alexis, preferred boy's clothing. Both Dominic and new foster mom were more anxious as Dominic started menstruating. We assured them that we provide services based on client preferences, and that we had a wide array of clothing and toiletries (& feminine hygiene supplies) for Dominic.
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?
Direct Impact: 3,000
Indirect Impact: 6,000