For Immediate Release:
May 18, 2022
Contact: Angela Maria Naso, Public Information Specialist, (951) 660-1925 – email@example.com
Riverside County celebrates local foster families
Advocates appeal for more caregivers to offer support for teens and children in care
RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif.— The Riverside County Board of Supervisors and child advocates this week recognized local foster families who offer love and stability to children in crisis, and they appealed for more families to open their homes to local youth in need.
“Being a foster parent is something I feel called to do while I am here on Earth,” said single dad Tyrone Stafford, 31. He adopted a son, now five. He also fosters four children between the ages of five and 11. A former foster youth himself, Stafford said he was determined to become a role model for kids whose lives have been disrupted by abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
“I wanted to beat the odds and show that a foster male could grow up and be an example for others,” said Stafford, one local foster parent recognized by the county supervisors in May, National Foster Care Month.
About 3,000 Riverside County children and teens are in foster homes or are awaiting placement on any given day, said Charity Douglas, assistant director of Children’s Services, a branch of the Department of Public Social Services (DPSS). Nationally, more than 400,000 children and teens are in foster care.
“Our first goal is to partner with families and bring resources that help parents support their children to thrive and be healthy,” Douglas said. When children cannot return to their families of origin, Douglas said the goal is link them to loving homes. The needs of a youth are complex and require adults who understand trauma to build resiliency and promote hope.
Fifth District Supervisor Jeff Hewitt, chairman of the board, praised caregivers saying that their unwavering support helps provide stability to children who have experienced a difficult circumstance.
“All children deserve a safe and nurturing place to call home and these parents have recognized the need and have stepped up to the challenge,” Hewitt said. “I would like to thank each of them and all the others in our county who are devoted to our most precious resource which is our youth.”
During the May 17 meeting, Riverside County’s 2022 Caregiver of the Year award winners were named, and a video was shown. Four foster families recognized by the board included Kwame and Becky Addo, Armando and Rachel Castillo, Foster and LaRhonda Slaughter, and Stafford, the 31-year-old single dad.
“We are grateful for all our caregivers who are committed to fostering children and strengthening families that are facing complex challenges,” added Douglas. “But the need for more resource families continues to grow. This is especially true for our children of color, sibling sets, teens and youth with more specialized needs.”
Foster Slaughter, one of this year’s award-winning caregivers, urged people to open their hearts to fostering. “If you are a good person, and have a good heart, do it!” said Slaughter.
Please call 1-800-665-KIDS (5437) to find out more about fostering or adoption in Riverside County or visit rivcodpss.org.
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*Note to media: Interviews with foster families who received the 2022 Caregiver of the Year Award are available upon request.