LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved $100,000 in funding for a consultant to engage faith-based organizations in support of children and families, especially in finding more foster parents.
Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who recommended the action, said she hoped to energize the faith community on behalf of children.
“Faith-based organizations have a long-standing tradition of providing effective supportive services to families in need,” Barger said. “As a vital component of the informal social safety of their individual communities, the full engagement of their services in the area of child welfare in a strategic manner is a logical next step.”
Though some faith-based groups have partnered over the years with the Department of Children and Family Services, Barger said they represent an under-utilized resource.
The Center for Strategic Partnerships was directed last September to advise the county on faith-based programs and in March recommended seeking private funding to help hire a consultant. The county will fund $100,000 of the $150,000 estimated cost for 18 months of work; private donors are being solicited to make up the difference.
In addition to ideas about recruiting and retaining foster parents, programs could include visitation centers and monitoring for families involved with DCFS, respite care, substance abuse counseling, cultural brokers and other support services.