Capital Region Cares Capital Region Cares 2017-2018 - Page 114

n Success story s r e d hol of STANFORD YOUTH SOLUTIONS EMPOWERS FOSTER CARE FAMILIES AND FOSTER YOUTH 114 CAPITAL REGION CARES 2017 | hope BY Cherise Henry PHOTOS COURTESY OF STANFORD YOUTH SOLUTIONS A melia Kelly-Semper and her husband have volunteered themselves as foster parents for nine years in the Sacra- mento region, helping to care for more than a dozen foster youth, ranging from 5-16 years old. “We know being a foster parent is not an easy task,” Kelly-Semper says. “Everybody cannot be a foster parent. It takes diligence. It takes commit- ment. It takes understanding. It takes patience. Literally. When they say, ‘It takes a village,’ it means everyone in your household has to be a part of it.” Stanford Youth Solutions, a Sacramento-based nonprofit or- ganization, helps to support foster parents, foster youth and the families behind them through their foster care program. The ultimate goal, says Pro- gram Manager Christina Cagle, is for the kids to have the opportunity to go home to their biological family. If that outcome cannot happen, then the next best thing is to provide fos- ter parents with what they need to achieve guardianship or adoption, Cagle says. These goals are achieved, at least in part, through the layers of support and resources provided by Stanford Youth, including 24/7 on-call sup- port, dedicated social workers with customized support, free trainings and more. “You have to be the holders of hope for these children, and we have to train these families to be the hold- ers of hope for the kids coming into their families,” Cagle says. “It can be a rough road, but if you’re willing to