Rosemary Childrenâ€™s ServicesÂ Â
The agency, which has helped abused, abandoned and neglected children throughout Southern California for over 80 years – is now seeking additional support from the community. Upcoming events include the 8th annual Walk for Hope in Long Beach and a LA Kings game at Staples Center.
Since April 1920, when Rosemary Children’s Services (RCS) first opened its doors, the agency has prided itself on playing an invaluable role in the community – helping abused, abandoned and neglected children throughout Southern California heal from the wounds of the past to build a new, more promising future. Today, however, RCS is confronting a challenge of its own – an anticipated 10% loss of state funding.
Currently the agency is bracing itself for a 10 percent cut to its Foster Care Placement and Adoption Program and Residential Treatment Program, as well as a reduction of funding for Mental Health Services. This translates into a loss of funding for fiscal year 2009/2010 of $252,000 to the Foster Care Placement Program, $269,900.00 to the Residential Program and $110,196 to the Mental Health Program – totaling an agency-wide loss of nearly $660,000.
“For 89 years, we’ve helped at risk children and families in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange Counties,” says Jennifer Radics, Director of Development. “And this year will be no different. We are committed to maintaining all services, programs and staff at RCS through our General Operating Fund.”
Nevertheless, to help offset the 10% reduction, the agency also hopes to raise additional funds from community contributions. Upcoming fundraising events include the 8th Annual Walk for Hope on October 17, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at El Dorado Park in Long Beach and the Los Angeles Kings/Pittsburgh Penguins game at the Staples Center on November 5 at 7:30 p.m.
There is no registration fee for the Walk for Hope, although the park charges a $7 vehicle entry fee. Tickets for the Staples Center event start at $30/person and up to $35 of each ticket purchased will be donated to RCS. For more information about either the Walk for Hope or the LA Kings game, contact Jennifer Radics at (626) 844-3033, ext. 211 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
RCS is particularly concerned over the impact the funding loss may have on its Foster Family and Adoption Agency. “Funding has not been increased in seven years and during that time, recruitment of foster families and facility costs have increased dramatically,” says Greg Wessels, Executive Director. “In fact, since non profit private adoption agencies like ours were already losing on average $5000 per adoption of foster children, the budget cut is especially damaging.”
The Foster Family and Adoption Agency, one of the five programs managed by Rosemary Children’s Services, is licensed by the state of California. Children are referred to RCS by the Department of Children and Family Services and Child Protective agencies. RCS sponsors certified homes throughout Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange counties. Professionally trained social workers are available around the clock to provide assistance to Resource Parents whenever necessary.
But it is the Resource Families (foster/adoptive) themselves who play a key role in RCS’s Foster Family and Adoption program. Trained and certified as a foster family, resource families have one goal: to provide safe, nurturing, respectful and stable homes for the children they welcome into their homes. Eventually, foster children under a family’s care are either reunited with their birth families or adopted by the Resource Family.
“Because Resource Families are ready to adopt, the adoption process is shortened,” says Radics. “This helps each child immensely, lessening foster home placements and reducing any trauma the child may feel at leaving his or her birth family.”
There is always a need for Resource Families willing to give a child a home, Radics adds. Those interested in becoming a Resource Family (Foster/Adoptive parent) or who would like more information, can call 1-888-546-1066.
According to the California Statute, Welfare and Institutions Code 16122, children who would otherwise remain in long term foster care but are instead adopted, “achieve a substantial savings to the state in foster care costs.”
“The irony is that the state cut funding to a program that has been proven to save the state costs,” says Wessels. “So, now, we’re asking our fellow members of the community to help us continue the good work we’ve begun.”
In addition to its Foster Family and Adoption agency, RCS’s programs include a Non-Public School, the Rosemary School, providing specialized education in a small structured environment; a Mental Health Program to provide individual and group therapy and training in various life skills; and a Residential Program for teenage girls. The girls live at either Rosemary Cottage, which houses 19 girls, or one of four smaller group homes located throughout Pasadena. The agency also supports a Transitional Housing program for emancipated Foster Youth as well as a 24-month program for women ages 18 to 24 who are no longer part of the foster care system but need help increasing their job skills, education, and life skills.
To learn more about RCS or arrange a tour, visit www.rosemarychildren.org or call (626) 844-3033.