Sometimes the pressures of daily life can get to the best of us. The days of Leave it to Beaver and Father Knows Best are long gone and the family dynamic has changed for many.
A vast number of families may only have one parent in the household with one or more children. Stress levels run high and oftentimes drugs and alcohol can be contributing factors causing even more problems.
Kelly Remington Mendoza, who was a foster child, is the director of the Foster, Adoption and Kinship Caregivers Education Program at College of the Redwoods, spoke to the Garberville Rotary Club last week.
Mendoza said she is most passionate about helping to guide people through the trials and obstacles of daily life. She said her primary targets are those people such as grandparents, guardians and foster parents that take care of children who find themselves without a supportive home.
She said one in 12 families in Humboldt county have what is considered to be youth at risk living in a household or are already in the system.
One of the most needed services is a place for kids to stay on a temporary basis until other arrangements can be made. Usually this is only for a few days, or can be longer if all parties agree.
A question was asked about liability. If an underage child shows up at your home and you take them in, do you have a responsibility to report this to the authorities?
Mendoza said this is a real problem, and yes, you are supposed to contact law enforcement. She said she is what is called a mandatory reporter and must report all abuses and abandonment cases. She also said being a product of the system, she has been able to help many kids and has taken in those in need at various times.
If you are interested in volunteering to help a child in need you can contact the Department of Health and Human Services Humboldt Foster Parent Coordinator at 441-5010, New Directions Foster Family Association of Humboldt at 496-6070, or locally you can contact Christina Huff at the Southern Humboldt Family Resource Center at 923-2247 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some of the classes offered by the Foster, Adoption and Kinship Caregivers Education Program at CR include CPR and first aid, grief and loss, setting up appropriate boundaries in the home, and drug and alcohol counseling. Monthly support groups are available.
Contact College of the Redwoods at 476-4455 or go to www.redwoods.edu/eureka/foster for more information.
REDWOOD TIMES PHOTO BY SUSAN GARDNER
Kelly Remington Mendoza, shown here with Garberville Rotary Club president David Katz, gave a program on crisis intervention for teenagers.