Help foster youth feel safe, loved and that they belong. Become a foster parent today!
May is National Foster Care Awareness month, which means you are likely noticing news stories that paint foster care, and the youth living within this system, as “broken,” or “scary.” This is unfortunate, because the fostered youth I’ve known are anything but scary. The system can have its challenges, certainly, but it is full of people dedicated to providing stable and nurturing care for children and teenagers.
Certainly, foster parenting can be a new and different approach to caring for children. It is not easy work, but it is worth it. These children come from every walk of life. Their stories are full of heartbreak and resilience, and they deserve our very best efforts. The resource and foster parents who welcome children home provide structure, when needed, and nurture when needed. Our resource and foster parents show up every day for the children who join their families, for as long as they are needed. They welcome the weight of a child’s trauma history. They receive and redirect a child’s rage at life that has unfairly dropped at their feet, teaching them required emotional skills and relationship tools.
Here’s a secret: these children, the ones who carry trauma with them everywhere, are the ones who are resilient and funny and charming. Those who need a new way of parenting, and those who the world consistently de-values? They need you.
Crittenton is here to help you help them. It’s not scary, but it can be new and different. Maybe fostering is a little outside of your comfort zone, but during this month where we create space for the stories of foster care to echo, I hope you’ll hear the perspective of Ana Eykel, Crittenton’s Vice President of Foster Care and respond:
“The scope of foster care reaches far beyond the ability to offer a cozy home and regular meals. At Crittenton, our goal is to offer all of our youth a safe and stable home where they feel welcomed as a family member, with all the rights and privileges that brings. The children we serve have faced adversity in ways few of us could ever imagine. Most often, they have never had the opportunity to simply be a child: to roller skate, laugh, or stare at the clouds imagining what is above them.
Our foster care staff and resource/foster parents are both the managers of pain as well as change for the children we serve. So, it fills us with great satisfaction when youth leave our care having taken such brave steps towards reaching their full potential and now following the course of a life story they are in the process of re-writing.”
Mr. Greg Eubanks, CEO, of Crittenton Services, has more than 25 years of experience in the child welfare and mental health fields as both a senior operating director and organizational leader for various nonprofits. He began his career in 1994 at a large multi-agency nonprofit headquartered in Texas where he continued to progress as Area Vice President. In 2014, he became President and CEO of a Seattle-based adoption agency until his most recent career appointment prior to Crittenton Services. Mr. Eubanks comes with a wealth of expertise in family preservation, community-based programs, strategic planning, program development, and performance management. In addition, he also holds a Master’s in Marriage, Family Counseling and Education, is a Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI®) Practitioner, and has been a speaker at national and international conferences.
Crittenton Services for Children and Families of Southern California (CSCF) is a nonprofit child welfare and mental health organization whose mission is to heal the wounds of abuse and neglect; strengthen families; and help troubled adolescents reach their full potential. Established and incorporated in 1966, Crittenton has an experienced and dedicated workforce operating 24 hours a day / 7 days a week providing comprehensive mental health services, shelter care, and other support services to the clients in our care. We provide a continuum of care programming effort that includes short-term residential, family preservation, integrated behavioral health, wraparound services, outpatient mental health, school-linked mental health, transitional age youth programming, and foster care services with a service plan area throughout Southern California that covers Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties.