SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Angels Foster Care of Santa Barbara is making a plea to local residents. The non-profit needs loving home for hundreds of children in foster care.
Founded in 2006, Angels Foster Care has helped 133 children find homes. Founder Meichelle Arntz got involved in Santa Barbara child welfare services and courts through her work as a volunteer in the Court Appointed Special Advocates Program. "I know some families are going out of the state, going out of the country to trying to find infants. We have local infants right here that need families," said Arntz.
For the Phillip family in Goleta, it was love at first sight when they met Anna. They turned to Angels Foster Care after learning about the overwhelming need for foster families in the county.
Anna was just six weeks old when they took her in. She came from an unstable home and had already spent three weeks in a local shelter. Christy Phillip says Angels Foster Care was there every step of the way. The Phillip family adopted Anna when she was two-years old. She is now six and thriving.
According to Arntz, an average of 600 children are in the foster care system at any given time. Around two hundred are under the age of three. Arntz says its critical for these kids to learn how to bond with others in the first two years of life.
Otherwise, they can develop a detachment disorder which is difficult to overcome later in life. For that reason, Angels Foster Care only allows its foster families one child at a time, unless siblings need a home.
Arntz says finding willing families is a challenge. She had to turn away 42 babies last year.
There are many ways to become involved. You can offer respite or emergency shelter care for a child for two to four weeks. You can also foster a child for up to a year. If you are interested in expanding your family permanently, you can foster adopt.
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