OXNARD, Calif. — On May 21st, Foster VC Kids will host a non-denominational informational meeting hosted at All Saints Episcopal Church in Oxnard. The meeting is open to all and will provide aspiring foster families with comprehensive information about what it takes and how amazing it is to become a home for VC foster children. The meeting is also expected to draw members of the Ventura County Fire Department, Ventura and Oxnard Police Departments, health care industry employees, members of the faith-based community, and current foster families.
Ventura County resident Natalie Cardenas Torres has always been drawn to a life of service, but she never imagined she’d be doing it by providing emergency shelter care for Ventura County’s foster youth. Torres will join an inspirational panel of foster families, advocates, and former foster youth to share her story and discuss the state of foster care. Torres’ lifelong dream was a career in law enforcement, but after being accepted to the Oxnard Police Department and just five years as a patrol officer, an injury forced her into early retirement.
“I always wanted to help the community,” said Torres. She began fostering in 1994 and 20 years later, after adopting and raising a son and two daughters, it was their children who encouraged Torres and her husband to re-open their home to foster youth.
“My son said to me, ‘Mom, you helped us. We should help other children too’,” recalls Torres. Through Foster VC Kids, a division of Ventura County Children and Family Services, in the last two and a half years, the family has fostered more than 14 Ventura County youth from infants to teens, all of whom have been safely and successfully reunited with their biological families.
May is Foster Care Awareness Month, and with more than 1,000 youth still in need in Ventura County, foster youth from birth to teens need loving parents who will support them as if they were their own. Every year the Ventura County Board of Supervisors celebrates Foster Parent Awareness Month and honors the contribution of foster and kinship care families. This year’s celebration is scheduled for 10:00 A.M. on May 17 during the regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors.