Marin foster kids enjoy summer recreation.
Founded in 2003, the Marin Foster Care Association is at the forefront of support and advocacy for foster children and their dedicated caregivers. MFCA’s four main programs are designed to support a mission of safe, consistent, quality care for every Marin County child in foster care.
MFCA’s Community Resource Center is filled with every item that a child needs to find comfort in a new home, all generously donated by corporate donors and the Marin community. The CRC was visited by 233 foster parents and social workers in 2020.
The Opportunity Project provides grants for foster children to access tutoring and enrichment activities in this resource-rich community. These activities are often the first steps toward a sense of normalcy. In 2020, MFCA distributed 55 grants, allowing foster children to participate in a range of activities including piano lessons, horseback riding, tutoring, driver’s training, gymnastics, hip-hop dance classes, martial arts, tennis and cheerleading teams and more.
The Resource Family Wellness Program provides immediate, scheduled, and as-needed support to foster families. The first six to eight weeks of a new foster family’s first placement are fraught with unfilled emotional and material needs leading resource families to question the decision to foster a child. MFCA steps in as the calm voice in the storm, helping families make it through the most difficult months. The Resource Family Wellness Program’s support steps include pairing with an experienced foster parent to mentor the new family, meal deliveries, resource information tailored to the age of the child, regular check-ins, gift cards and personal invitations to MFCA’s community events.
In response to increased needs during the pandemic, the COVID-19 Support Program was created. Thanks to generous donations, MFCA was able to deliver Safeway, Target, Amazon and restaurant gift cards, catered meals, laptops, art supplies, diapers and safety equipment. The program created virtual events to keep spirits up and the community united. With the annual picnic in June canceled, MFCA pivoted quickly to hand out SchoolReady kits to 42 foster kids in a socially distanced, curbside pickup event, complete with pizza dinners. The kits were carefully curated by educators, parents and foster teens, and contained grade-appropriate supplies that promoted learning in math, science, art, reading and technology. The effort was so successful that MFCA duplicated the format and created Happy Holiday kits in lieu of their annual Holiday Party. Thirty-two foster families and 16 older foster youth were gifted age-specific kits that included holiday crafts and treats, lights, ornaments, games and grocery store gift cards for a holiday meal.
Thanks to the support of organizations such as the Giving Marin Community Partnership and its $5,000 grant to Marin Foster Care Association, along with private donations from the community, MFCA developed the Summer Adventure Program in 2021 to add fun to Marin’s foster children’s schedule. Each foster child was awarded $300 to participate in a fun summer activity including Six Flags, Aquarium of the Bay, Yosemite, River Bend Resort, Hawaii, Safari West, ziplining, horse shows and camping. Marin’s foster children had a summer filled with fun thanks to generous donations.
For information about how to volunteer, view current needs, or to make a donation, visit marinfostercare.org.
Photo caption: Through programs organized by Marin Foster Care Association, children enjoy horseback riding and baking. -Photos courtesy of Marin Foster Care Association