Community Spotlight: Marin Foster Care Association
ABOUT THE MARIN FOSTER CARE ASSOCIATION (MFCA)
The Marin Foster Care Association (MFCA), as the county’s primary provider of foster care support services, focuses on turning a period of profound crisis in a child’s life into a time of security and healing. Their programs are designed to support a mission of safe, consistent, quality care for every Marin County child in foster care.
To that end, MFCA maintains a Community Resource Center (CRC) to provide for critical material, emotional and educational needs of Marin foster children and their caregivers. This includes clothing, shoes, toys, infant equipment, school supplies and hygiene products for foster children of all ages. In addition, caregivers receive mentoring and support through trained and experienced volunteers.
Each foster child is marked by a unique history of abuse and neglect. Often resource families are the first to recognize a foster child's educational, emotional and physical challenges, and to celebrate their individual skills and talents. MFCA’s Opportunity Project provides grants for foster youth to participate in normalizing and enriching activities. In 2020 they distributed over $23,800 in grants, allowing 35 foster youth to participate in a range of activities – piano lessons, horseback riding, tutoring, driver’s training, gymnastics, hip-hop dance classes, martial arts, tennis and cheerleading teams, and more.
The newly created Say “Yes” Program offsets or fully funds obstacles to saying “yes” to a foster child. Repairing a lift for an ADA-compliant vehicle, purchasing mattress for a new foster family, or providing a hot tub cover are examples of how this new fund has been used since its inception in January 2021.
MFCA hosts events, outings, trainings and support groups to provide a sense of community and normalcy for foster families. MFCA’s annual picnic and holiday party foster positivity and inclusivity in our community. Over 110 children and caregivers enjoy the picnic and holiday party each year. Periodic mom-to-mom and dad-to-dad workshops, plus county-wide education programs sponsored in partnership with Children and Family Services, representatives of Marin's dependency court, and other local non-profits whose focus is marginalized youth, educate Marin's resource families about the latest research and encourage best practices.
The world of foster care and foster parenting is constantly evolving. MFCA works in partnership with other community agencies that support youth aging out of foster care and entering independent living. Many Marin County children are placed in out-of-county homes due to a shortage of resource families in Marin. MFCA's services "follow" Marin's foster children into their new counties, offering continuity and access to funding other counties don't provide.
HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT
A highly motivated board of directors is leading MFCA into 2021 and beyond with a new board structure, development and programming plans, and innovative fundraisers. Blues and Brews Marin educates the broader community about the unique needs of foster children, spotlights Marin’s remarkable caregivers, and familiarizes supporters with our strong network of community partners. Plans are already in the works for a live event on October 9, 2021 at Pacheco Ranch Winery. Their annual Dance-a-thon in May, for which Sports Basement is a sponsor, successfully utilizes peer-to-peer fundraising, youthful energy, and everyone’s dance skills to bring MFCA literally and figuratively into the public eye. You can join the fun of fundraising on May 20th, 2021 at 7 pm.
To learn more about the Marin Foster Care Association, visit their website at http://www.marinfostercare.org.