FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 11, 2020
DCFS Public Affairs
More than 19,000 children are in foster care in Los Angeles County, over 50% are Latino
LOS ANGELES – March 11, 2020 – Carla Baeza immigrated to the US from Chile and knew when she arrived that she wanted to have a family. Without being able to conceive on her own, Carla decided to become a foster parent to children in need through Los Angeles County’s Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). The Department is always in need of safe, stable, loving foster homes that understand the culture, background and language of Latino children.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis is passionate about getting the Latino community more involved in foster parenting to support these children in need. The Supervisor has joined with DCFS and the Office of Immigrant Affairs to launch the County’s first campaign devoted to galvanizing the Latino community to support children in foster care and connect them with loving families called Juntos con los Niños (Together with the Children).
Children and youth in foster care with at least one caring adult in their lives have significantly better lifetime outcomes than those who do not, especially when they can share a cultural background that makes children feel more at home in a tumultuous time of their lives. One caring adult involved in the life of a vulnerable child can change communities for the better, including decreasing rates of incarceration, teen pregnancy, and drug use while increasing high school graduation rates.
“We celebrate the launch of Juntos con los Niños, LA County’s first Spanish-language foster parent recruitment campaign that reflects the dynamic diversity within our communities, eliminates cultural barriers impeding Spanish-speakers from becoming foster parents, and embraces Latino cultural pride and self-affirmation,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. “This is in line with my vision that our child welfare system should provide the best care to all children who have to experience it. Families that primarily speak Spanish are a valuable resource for children in our foster care system. Sharing Latino cultural traditions and a common language can reduce trauma for youth who are removed from their birth families and placed in a bilingual foster home. This cultural affirmation will put our children on a pathway to success in life.”
“There are many children in foster care patiently waiting to be welcomed into a loving and safe foster or adoptive home,” said DCFS Director Bobby D. Cagle. “They deserve to be part of a family that shares their culture, whether it is a temporary situation or needing a new permanent home if it’s not possible for them to return to their parents due to ongoing safety concerns.”
“Children are our most vulnerable and valuable wealth, and we owe them a life free of fear, insecurity, and displacement,” said Rigoberto Reyes, Executive Director of the Office of Immigrant Affairs in the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs. “I am optimistic that this initiative will bring forward nurturing families to provide our foster children loving homes that are sensitive to their cultural, language and immigration needs.”
Today, Carla Baeza and her husband are the proud parents of two boys they fostered, and ultimately, adopted through DCFS. Though the road has not always been easy, she describes the inherent value of opening her home to children in need and seeing the positive impact on her entire family and community.
“Both of my boys only speak Spanish at home,” Carla shared. “It has been an incredible experience to share the culture [my husband] and I were raised in with our babies, as we give them the tools to communicate with our family back home and integrate them into our community here in Los Angeles.”
“I am passionate about sharing this opportunity with others to inspire them to provide homes to children in need of loving families,” Carla continued. “There are so many beautiful children in Los Angeles waiting for temporary or permanent homes and spreading the word about these children in need has become a passion for me. I hope to share that with others because though the journey can sometimes be hard, it is so worth it when you can provide a safe and loving home to a child in need.”
For more information about becoming a foster parent to Latino children in Los Angeles County, visit www.JuntosconlosNinos.org.
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