The benefits of being a foster or adoptive parent were highlighted at the Parent Resource Spring Expo hosted by the Baldwin-Bethany Community Development Corporation (BBCDC) on May 20.

Jacki Miller and Dr. Loretta Gaines of Empowering God’s Children Ministry with James Mitchell, BBCDC director of Community Outreach. (Cora J. Fossett/L.A. Sentinel)

The mid-day event, held on the campus of Bethany Baptist Church in South L.A., featured several representatives of local organizations seeking to persuade adults to assist children in the L.A. County foster care system.

Staff members of the county’s Department of Children and Family Services were also on hand to provide details on becoming a foster or adoptive parent, said Edwina Lewis, a DCFS supervisor.

Bessie Jackson, BBCDC volunteer. (courtesy photo)

“We did this event to reach out to the community to let them know that there’s a need for resource parents in Los Angeles County.  We need safe, loving homes where kids can stay and be nourished and still flourish until we can either reunify them with their birth family or find a permanent adoptive homes,” Lewis said.

From left are Genesis Guzman, Raquel Guzman, Paul Guzman, and Mia Guzman. (Cora J. Fossett/L.A. Sentinel)

Paul and Raquel Guzman, who recently fostered and adopted Genesis and Mia, cited the joy of serving as a resource parent after raising their two biological children.

“We love having them with all of us. There’s a need in our community for kids to be in loving homes,” said Paul and Raquel.

In addition to receiving information, attendees were also treated to a free boxed lunch, various giveaways and non-perishable food from BBCDC.

Elected officials supporting the expo were County Supervisors Holly J. Mitchell and Janice Hahn, CL.A. Councilwoman Heather Hutt and Long Beach Councilman Al Austin.

Joe Trusak and Edwina Lewis of DCFS. (Cora J. Fossett/L.A. Sentinel)

Co-sponsors included the Community College Foundation, Empowering God’s Children Ministry, Kidsave Weekend Miracles, Faith Foster Families Network, Guardians of Love, Long Beach City College, Aspiranet Hope Forward and the county’s Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program.