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Angels Foster Care Reaches Major Milestone--Places 200th Baby in it's Program!

| August 9, 2016

Since founding in 2006, Angels Foster Care has been improving the way foster care is delivered to children in Santa Barbara County and is thrilled to announce that their exceptional program of care has placed their 200th baby in an Angels foster home. Two sisters, a 3 month old infant and her 2 year old big sister, were placed in the loving home of Angels Foster Parents, Maria

and Evan* making this sibling set the 199th and 200th babies we have helped since opening our doors 10 y

ears ago. Maria and Evan have been Angels Foster Parents for two years and have taken a number of placements for us alrea

dy--including sibling sets. The need for more foster parents is great--there are almost 500 children in Santa Barbara County foster care right now, and almost 200 of those children are under the age of 3.

Jennifer, who trained Maria

and Evan and matched Emily and Maddy with them, has been part of the lives of almost every one of these 200 children since she began working for Angels in 2008. “Being part of Angels Foster Care has shown me time and time again how one person or one family can make a significant, positive and enduring impact on the direction of a child's life. I feel honored to work each day with remarkable families in our community who have opened their homes and hearts to young children in need,” admits Jennifer.

One of the earliest families to become certified with Angels Foster Care was Michelle and Jeff Nerdin. They took Angels 2nd baby placement—little Gigi who they took home after she spent 7 weeks in the NICU after her birth. If the Nerdins had not taken her into their loving home, she would have been placed in a foster care shelter—which is a short term, emergency placement thereby requiring multiple moves for this tiny, fragile baby. Gigi was eventually adopted by the Nerdins and is now a healthy, happy 9 year old girl thriving in school and is a source of joy and blessing to their family. “It’s appropriate that Gigi was in Angels Foster Care because she is an angel. I have never met a human being more compassionate than Gigi. Even her teachers make a point of saying how kind and giving a child she is,” says her mom, Michelle Schneider-Nerdin. After adopting their two older children through private adoption, they were hesitant about fostering-to-adopt but because of their friendship with Meichelle Arntz, the founder of Angels Foster Care, they trusted they would be in good hands and, ultimately, wanted to help children in whatever way they could. “No matter the difficulty of the foster care process, adopting Gigi and having her complete our family made everything worth it,” reveals Schneider-Nerdin. She goes on to share, “People wait in line to adopt babies privately and for many people foster care and fostering-to-adopt is not even on their radar. More people should do it. They won’t regret it.”

Angels Foster Care is seen as an innovative model for providing the best care for the most vulnerable of all foster children – babies. On average, Angels manages the cases of 40 bab

ies and toddlers per year. Angels Foster Care works with abused, abandoned and neglected infants and toddlers born in Santa Barbara County. 90% of Angels children come from birth parents who struggle with alcohol, drug problems and homelessness.

Angels foster families serve the children placed with them by providing a safe, stable and loving home where their foster child heals from their previous abuse/neglect and learns important bonding behaviors during critical early child development, until reunification with their biological parents or adoption occurs.

Of the 200 babies and toddlers they have placed, a remarkable 13 of those precious children were fostered by the Vega family in Santa Maria who became certified foster parents in 2012. They have been exceptional parents who have welcomed in a variety of Angel babies—some for a few days and some for many months. Foster mom, Tracy Vega, says of her experiences with Angels Foster Care, “What a ride! Our family felt strongly about the need for children to be surrounded with love and support, and joined Angels specifically to bridge the gap that forms when a child has been separated from their parents.” Working with Angels foster care and it’s exceptional staff of administrators and social workers who are thoroughly focused on the emotional, mental, and physical needs of both the foster child, its foster family, and in many cases the biological parents has been a blessing to the Vega’s and they remark on how supportive and encouraging the whole experience has been. “Angels Foster Care families are world changers, and our family is so thankful that we have been able to play a part in this,” continues Ms. Vega.

Not everyone devoted to making sure babies and toddle

rs in the community get the best start possible, do this by being foster parents. Holly Murphy is a behind the scenes leader by ensuring that the necessary funding is in place so Angels can recruit, train, certify, and support the many Angel families needed to care for these children. Holly has served on the Angels Fundraising Committee for many years and has helped guide many events and campaigns over the years that bring in the local and community-wide financial support needed to do the important work of Angels foster Care. Holly shares her motivations for supporting the organization, “When I heard about Angels Foster Care and how they were helping infants who needed safe homes and
loving families I knew that I wanted to be involved.” She and her company, Coast 2 Coast Collection, along with her business partners, Juliska and Vietri, helped Angels create their annual fundraising luncheon - Al Fresco Afternoon on the Riviera. Murphy is so proud of the work that goes into this major fundraiser, “we have over 100 volunteers and businesses involved in this annual event. It produces significant funds and creates awareness for Angels Foster Care and we are proud to be a sponsor.” She goes on to say, it is “amazing with this year marking the 200th placement of an Angels baby.”

Additionally, every non profit is made stronger by the leadership of its board of directors. Michelle Richardson, the current Board Chair for Angels Foster Care, has also made the mission of helping foster children through the proven work of the Angels model by serving on the board, helping to guide policy and structure, and by ensuring financial stability for the organization. Her employer, Montecito Bank and Trust, has also proven to be an important business leader by providing financial support, help with communications and PR efforts, and providing volunteers for various events and outreach activities. “It is so incredibly rewarding to know Angels has changed the life of 200 children.” Richardson shares. She continues by saying, “I salute the staff, the Board, and the volunteers who make this incredible work happen.”

*names changed to respect privacy

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