Monday, August 31, 2009

Panel Approves Bill Designed To Keep Kids in Healthy Families

On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a measure (AB 1422) designed to prevent more than 500,000 children from losing coverage under Healthy Families, California's Children's Health Insurance Program, the Sacramento Bee reports.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Foster Care Stat

83,000 children are currently in the California foster care system.

Foster Care Statistic

78,278 children were in the California foster care system on July 1, 2006. Child Welfare Services Reports for California.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

CA to Compete for "Race to the Top” Funding

Last Thursday, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a proclamation convening the Legislature to meet in yet another extraordinary session, the fifth this year, to take the needed legislative action so that California can “compete for the largest pool of discretionary funding for education reform in U.S. history,” $4.35 billion in “Race to the Top” dollars available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. CA Alliance

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Family Economic Success and Stability Training

Strategies is offering a two-day training offering a practical, step-by-step guide to motivate and support your clients' journey toward financial self-sufficiency while preserving family strengths. You will learn how to match your clients' needs with a "wealth" of often underutilized local, state, and federal resources to help families achieve economic success.

Trainings in October and January in Emeryville, San Luis Obispo, Merced.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Prospective Foster Parent Training

Bakersfield, CA. Saturday, September 19th & 26th, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
For more information, please call 661.323.1233 and ask for Kathrine Parnell.
To learn more about Aspiranet foster care, please visit

Monday, August 24, 2009

Immunization Needs

National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners presents Meeting the Immunization Needs of Infants and Toddlers in Foster Care: A Webinar for Foster Parents

September 29, 2009

To learn more or to register:

Friday, August 21, 2009

IES Guide Offers Recommendations for Improving Elementary Student Behavior

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) has published a practice guide which offers recommendations for improving behavior among elementary students. Reducing Behavior Problems in the Elementary School Classroom offers five key recommendations to help school staff identify and improve problem behaviors, as well as teach and reinforce new skills.

To view the guide, click here:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Who done it? Solving a mystery for foster programs in Kern County

Sixties-themed fundraiser benefits Aspiranet, one of the largest nonprofit adoption agencies in the State of California, nets over $4,500.

(BAKERSFIELD, CA – AUGUST 19, 2009) Marilyn Monroe didn’t do it. Nor did Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin, Ginger Rogers, or even The Duke.

But for one night, on July 25, these pseudo celebrities from the 1960s came together to help solve a murder mystery for Aspiranet, a nonprofit charity supporting foster children, siblings, and families through 35 core programs, including those offered in Kern County.

Kathrine Parnell, a social worker and trainer employed by Aspiranet, is no stranger to murder mystery parties. In fact, she has planned quite a few for friends and family. This however, was the first time she had planned a Hollywood murder mystery party for charity, and Aspiranet.

“It was important to come together not only to raise awareness and funds to help our local foster children and families, but to also have fun,” said Jana Davis, Assistant Regional Manager for Aspiranet.

With about 60 people in attendance dressed as characters and Hollywood celebrities from the 1960s, Parnell said it was fun to see Marilyn Monroe, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Groucho Marx, Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin, John Wayne, and Ginger Rogers having a good time and attempting to solve the mystery of fictional victim Jerry Oilman’s murder.

Conglas Mfg. and Cecil Valenzuela as event chairs helped to make the night happen, Parnell said, along with many other co-sponsors and volunteers standing in as coat checkers, valets, bartenders, and other roles.

By the end of the evening the party had raised over $4,500 for the charity, funds that will continue to promote services to more than 160 foster children in Kern County and those associated with Aspiranet’s Sibling Connections Initiative.

The innovative initiative is dedicated to reuniting brothers and sisters and placing them together with one set of foster parents to maintain family bonds when they might otherwise be separated. Not always an easy task, Aspiranet works closely with county agencies to find loving families willing to keep displaced siblings together through often traumatic situations.

Valenzuela said he is particularly committed to Aspiranet’s Sibling Connection Initiative because it hits so close to home.

“I grew up in a large family, one of 10 children,” he said. “My wife and I had four children of our own and also raised an additional four children, all nieces and nephews under the age of 12. We did it because they were family, but most of all because we could do it.”

In the end the mystery surrounding Jerry Oilman’s pseudo death was solved, with all fingers pointing to rock guitarist extraordinaire Jimi Hendrix.

Parnell said guests were so enthusiastic about the event that she is already planning another event for next year and hopes to make it an annual fundraiser.

Headquartered in South San Francisco, the Bakersfield offices are at 2603 G Street, Suite 100. For more information or to volunteer, call (661) 323-1233 or visit

About Aspiranet
Aspiranet, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charity, supports foster children, siblings and families through its 35 core programs offering specialized services through 44 satellite centers within California. Its goal is to provide love, support, and understanding while bringing families together.

Founded more than 30 years ago as a six-bed group home for young boys in Moss Beach, CA, Aspiranet has evolved to become one of the most diverse private adoption agencies in California with a statewide network of innovative services that have touched the lives of over 10,000 families and children since its founding.

Aspiranet’s vision of bringing families together and helping foster children, siblings and parents thrive is realized through more than 35 core programs and services in six areas of expertise – Family Services, Adoption, Foster Care, Education, Afterschool programs and Community partnerships.

Day after day, the dedication, commitment, efforts, and renewed aspirations of the Aspiranet team make a profound difference in the lives of children and families throughout California. We invite volunteers and sponsors to gift time, money, or partnering to provide hope to children and families in need.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

SNBC Hosted National Night Out BBQ A Success

On Tuesday, August 4, Aspiranet Sunset Neighborhood Beacon Center (SNBC) hosted a National Night Out event at its Rec Connect Center.

SNBC Director of Policies and Partnerships Michael Funk, San Francisco Police Chief Heather Fong, SNBC Rec Connect Program Director Ryan McCarthy, and Aspiranet CFO Lewis Overton, Jr.

The nationwide National Night Out campaign is a unique crime/drug prevention event sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch. The campaign involves citizens, law enforcement agencies, civic groups, businesses, neighborhood organizations, and local officials from over 15,000 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases worldwide. In all, over 37 million people participated in National Night Out 2008.

National Night Out is designed to:

  • Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness;
  • Generate support for, and participation in, local anti-crime programs;
  • Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and
  • Send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

SNBC participated in the event with an open invitation to the Sunset Neighborhood to partake in free food, games, face painting, and music at SNBC's National Night Out BBQ! The event was held on a sunny afternoon at the SNBC Rec Connect Center, at which SNBC is working to strengthen San Francisco recreation centers as lively community hubs with new and improved programs for youth and their families.

To view a photo gallery of pictures taken at the SNBC National Night Out Community BBQ, please visit

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Monday, August 17, 2009

IOUs to End September 4

Finally, state Controller John Chiang (D) announced Thursday that the state will stop issuing IOUs on September 4, a month earlier than previously projected, after a review of projected state cash flow. Mr. Chiang, who has been a vocal critic of the governor and the legislature, began issuing IOUs, formally known as “registered warrants” in July when the state ran short of cash. His office has issued some 327,000 of the interest-bearing warrants totaling $1.95 billion. CA Alliance News

Friday, August 14, 2009

Calendar of Events Visalia

Foster Parent Orientation
Tuesday, August 4th
Thursay, August 20th
Tuesdays, September 1st, 8th & 22nd
Tuesdays, October 6th, 13th & 20th

All Orientaitons start at 5:30 and end no later than 7:30 . We do not provide child care during the Orientaiton so please make arrangements for your little ones.

PRIDE Training
Saturday, August 8th and 22th
Saturday, September 12th and 26th
October 3rd and 24th
All PRIDE trainings start PROMPTLY at 9:00 and end at 5:00. Please note that if you are
a two parent house hold that both parents must complete PRIDE for certifi cation and re-certification.

Safety Trainings
First Aid / CPR -Jan Sanders 739-1530
Water Safety -Heidi Connant 967-1278

Kids and Family Fun Day
Saturday, October 10th
Tulare Fair Grounds
Free Admission

Visalia Pumpkin Patch
In the month of October
Date to be announced

Aspiranet Bakersfield Foster Parents Become Adoptive Parents

Amy and Richard Gill of Bakersfield, CA have been Aspiranet foster parents since September 2005. Since then, their work with Aspiranet has included assisting an 18 year-old foster child transition to an independent living program for youth. Their efforts helped create permanent commitment to the youth and formed a lifelong connection with him.

On Friday, August 7, Amy and Richard proudly added two new members to their family! Through Aspiranet’s fost-adopt program, Amy and Richard adopted two twin boys, Tony and Michael. The occasion was notable in that through the adoption, Amy and Richard are keeping two brothers, who might have otherwise been separated, together – an important factor emphasized by Aspiranet’s Sibling Connection Initiative. Per the couple, “We are overjoyed to be welcoming these wonderful boys into our family!”

Pictured: Brittany Latherow (Amy's daughter), Amy, Tony, Michael, and Richard Gill.

To learn more about Sibling Connection Initiative, please visit

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bay Area PRIDE Trainings for Foster Parents

PRIDE Training Schedule

Oakland Trainings:
First Congregational Church of Oakland
2501 Harrison Street, Oakland, CA 94612
Wed., Sept. 16th (Part 1a) 6:00–9:00pm
Thurs., Sept. 17th (Part 1b) 6:00–9:00pm
Wed., Sept. 23rd (Part 2a) 6:00–9:00pm
Thurs., Sept. 24th (Part 2b) 6:00–9:00pm

Antioch Trainings:
2615 Somersville Road, Antioch, CA 94509
Sat., Aug. 8th (Part 1a &b) 9:00am–4:00pm
Sat., Aug. 29th (Part 2a & b) 9:00am–4:00pm
Sat., Sept. 19th (Part 1a &b) 9:00am–4:00pm
Sat., Sept. 26th (Part 2a & b) 9:00am–4:00pm

Pleasant Hill Trainings:
3337 Vincent Road, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
Wed., Aug. 5th (Part 1a) 6:00–9:00pm
Thurs., Aug. 6th (Part 1b) 6:00–9:00pm
Wed., Aug. 12th (Part 2a) 6:00–9:00pm
Thurs., Aug. 13th (Part 2b) 6:00–9:00pm

Please note that childcare will not be available
during the trainings. You are encouraged to attend
PRIDE Part 1 (1a & 1b) prior to attending PRIDE
Part 2 (2a & 2b). Both parts are required to become
a certifi ed foster parent. Please call Laura, Janice
or Ayesha at 925-753-2156 to RSVP.

View Aspiranet Bay Area Trainings in a larger map

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bakersfield Calendar of Events

Aspiranet Hosted Trainings

Foster Parent Orientation
Wednesdays 3:00-5:00 pm or Fridays 12:00 noon - 3:00 pm
Orientations offered daily as well if you cannot make the times above.
Please call for more information 661-323-1233 & ask for Marina

Pride Training
Saturday, August 8th 9:00 am-5:00 pm
Saturday, August 22nd 9:00 am-5:00 pm
Saturday, September 19th & 26th 9:00 am-5:00 pm
Saturday, October 17th & Sunday the 18th 9:00 am-5:00 pm
Please call 661-323-1233 for more information on Foster Parent Training classes & ask for Kathrine Parnell

Foster Parent Training
Training is held every 3rd Thursday of each month

Sibling Relationships
Thursday, August 20th 6:00-8:00pm
Mandated for all Foster Parents who have Foster Children with siblings

Pride Follow-up
September 17th 6:00-8:00pm
Mandated for all families who have completed Pride Training

7 Core Issues of Adoption
October 15th 6:00-8:00pm
Mandated for all dual Foster Parents and/or those going through the adoption process
NOTE: If you have NOT completed the Pride Training, you will need to do so by November.

Outside Trainings

CPR-1st Aid Trainings
(661) 324-6427
Mondays and Tuesdays evenings 6:00-10:00pm
Thursdays 8:00am-5:00pm
Saturdays 8:00am-5:00pm
Dorothy Martinez (661) 833-0033 Call for information and times
Shelly Sprouse (661) 900-5960 Call for information. She will come to your home.

IEP Workshop
Saturday, August 29th 9:00am – 4:00pm
3101 N. Sillect Ave Suite 115
Call Dian at (661) 328-9055
ext. 256 for Reservations

Taft College Training
Foster/Kinship Care workshops –Call Mary Halberg for Schedule
(661) 395-4737

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ventura Aspiranet Calendar of Events

1838 Eastman Ave, #100
Ventura, CA‎ 93003
Tel: (805) 289-0120‎
View Map

Interested in becoming a foster parent?
Come to a Foster Parent Orientation/Information Session:
  • Every Tuesday in August from 6:00-8:00pm
  • Saturdays, September 12th and 19th, 10:00am-12:00 noon
  • Saturdays, October 3rd and 10th, 10:00am-12:00noon

PRIDE Trainings

  • Wednesday, August 12th 5:45–9:00pm
  • Saturday, August 15th 9:15am–12:30pm
  • Monday, August 17th 5:45–9:00pm
  • Saturday, August 22nd 9:15am–12:30pm
  • Sundays, September 20th and 27th, 9:00am–5:00pm
  • Tuesday, November 3rd 5:45–9:00pm
  • Saturday, November 7th 9:15am–12:30pm
  • Tuesday, November 10th 5:45–9:00pm
  • Saturday, November 14th 9:15am–12:30pm
  • Saturdays, December 5th and 12th, 9:00am–5:00pm

Aspiranet has adopted PRIDE as it’s pre-certification training for prospective foster parents and adoptive parents. PRIDE is an acronym for Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education. PRIDE is a nationally recognized training that was created as a collaborative effort on the part of more than 150 foster parents, adoptive parents, social workers and educators.

The PRIDE training is beneficial for all foster and adoptive parents and Aspiranet is requiring that all currently certified foster families be trained in PRIDE. Families that have not articipated in PRIDE training during pre-certifi cation are required to have the PRIDE training by June 2010 as part of their continuing education training.

In July we had the first training in Ventura that combined pre-certification families with already certified families. The addition of the certified families to the training group enriched
the experience for all. As the trainer, it was great to have so many experienced families sharing their skills and experiences with the group. It made for a very enriching training. We often have had Foster Parents serve on the Foster Parent Panel during one hour of training which was always one of the best parts of training, and it is wonderful to now have Foster Parents share throughout the entire training. I look forward to seeing you at an upcoming PRIDE training!

Friday, August 7, 2009

What are the rewards of being a foster parent?

"The first time they say they love you."
"All of the hardship... is paid back time and time again by the smile on their faces..."
"They're part of your family and you love them, and they know that"
"You can't describe the joy you feel with these children..."

Become a foster parent, call 800-439-1905 or visit today!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

School Volunteers Discover Fountain of Youth Experience Corps Bay Area Seniors Gain Improved Quality of Life

From Grantee Magazine, a California Wellness Foundation publication
By Cathy Curtis

San Francisco-based Aspiranet (formerly Moss Beach Homes, Inc.)—which established the Bay Area site of the national Experience Corps program in 1998—received a three-year, $150,000 grant from TCWF in June 2006 for core operating support for an intergenerational, volunteer-based tutoring program that concurrently improves senior health.

“The goal behind creating a team of volunteers is that they see each other on a daily basis,” said Kaleda Walling, ECBA director. “This is a way for them to connect and share similar interests.”

Studies of Experience Corps volunteers show that the program provides multiple health and social benefits. The Johns Hopkins Schools of Medicine and Public Health surveyed volunteers who had participated in the program for four to eight months. These seniors said they were more active (63 percent) and felt stronger (44 percent). They had also made new friends and spent fewer hours watching TV.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

20 Things a Permanent Connection Means to Me...

1) A person that you will be able to talk to for the rest of your life.

2) Having someone or someplace to go to when I need to, at any
time, forever.

3) Someone or something that is there for you through all the good and all the bad.

4) Someone who is able and willing to help us learn the things that we should know, at that time in our lives.

5) A type of connection that will be with you or have permanently.

6) Someone who is there to help with things in my life.

7) Someone that you can trust.

8) A person you can trust that will help you in a time of need. Someone who is there to help me with the things in my life.

9) Someone who helps you reach your full potential.

10) Kicking back with someone that is cool.

11) Someone that is there when I am sad, angry, or just need something.

12) A person that is always there for you.

13) A person that can be there for you when you need a shoulder to lean on, support fi nancially, a home and advice.

14) Having a lasting bond to another individual.

15) Something that is permanent.

16) Being close, trusting someone.

17) Someone that will stay with you through thick and thin.

18) It is a connection that you make with a person, like a soul mate.

19) Someone that you spend that rest of your life knowing.

20) Someone that you stay in touch with.

~ As polled by current and former foster and probation youth ~ Fresno County Dept. of Children & Family Services - California Permanency For Youth Project Initiative

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Excell Center Residents Learn Valuable Lessons During Horse Weekend Trip

Slideshow to see photos of the Excell Center residents' experience:
On the weekend of July 10, six Excell Center residents participated in a much anticipated two-day horseback camping trip to the Santa Cruz Mountains. The trip was planned for the purpose of providing the boys with an opportunity to enjoy an outdoor summer trip while learning responsibility and teamwork.

The boys and staff kicked off the weekend with a six-mile horseback ride to their camping location at Henry W. Coe State Park. After arriving at the campsite, DreamPower staff member Cowboy Garry spoke to the boys about the importance of caring for their horses. He asked the boys to apply all of the knowledge they had gained during their prior training sessions, and join him in doing some chores. Together, the boys and staff fed, brushed, and watered the horses. After the horses had been tended to, the group went about setting up camp by constructing tents and collecting litter in the area. These chores instilled in the boys the value of responsibility and the power of teamwork.

Over the course of the weekend, Cowboy Garry cooked up delicious Dutch Oven-style meals using huge cast iron pots set between layers of smoldering coals. After each meal, the group worked together to clean up the campsite and conduct other various chores. In the evenings they gathered in a large circle to talk about the events of the day. The boys also took night hikes and did some star gazing. After returning from the hikes, the boys played cards together for an hour before settling down for the night, tired but content.

During the day, the group went fishing at a nearby pond where they caught large mouth bass that were immediately released with care back into the water. A park ranger also came to the campsite to talk to the group about outdoor survival, after which he kindly presented the group with a basic outdoor survival kit.

At the end of the weekend, the group packed up camp and road the horses back to the edge of the park. At the end of the journey the boys and Excell staff said goodbye and expressed their thanks to Cowboy Garry and the DreamPower staff. The Excell residents all enjoyed the trip very much, and hope to enjoy more outdoor activities in the future.

DreamPower Horsemanship, founded in 2002, provides therapeutic horsemanship programs and services.