Millions of foster children in the U.S. are currently living with a loving grandparent or relative. In fact, according to U.S. Census Bureau, in 2010, 4.9 million children nationwide were living in a grandparent-
The project, “Encore Parenting,” which currently serves the San Gabriel Valley and the South Bay area of Los Angeles County, is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The mission of the program is to connect kinship caregivers, such as grandparents, godparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, teachers and family friends, with multiple services, support groups and programs.
Maria Romero, a grandmother from Honduras, was struggling financially to care for her two granddaughters, Elma, 18, and Yesenia, 14, and one great- grandson, Emanuel, 2, when she was introduced to the “Encore Parenting Project” in Long Beach. Yesenia has lived with her grandmother for six years and Elma came into Romero’s care over two years ago as a pregnant 16-year-old after living in various foster homes.
“Before I was referred to Encore, I was happy to have my granddaughters and great-grandson with me but felt very pressured financially. Every month was a battle,” Romero said. “The classes and support groups have helped me tremendously and thanks to the moral support and orientation services, I am now able to do a much better job of caring for my three kids.”
Elma, who says she never experienced stability until moving in with her grandmother, has utilized the “Encore Parenting Project counseling and mentorship services and Romero credits the Calworks program for helping her to stabilize her finances.
Encore Parenting connects families to resources such as after-school programs, child care, counseling services, educational support, caregiver support groups, faith-based organizations, financial assistance, food pantries, health care services, housing, legal assistance, mental health services, recreational activities, substance abuse treatment and transportation.
Encore Parenting services are offered through the Aspiranet offices in Alhambra, Altadena, Arcadia, Azusa, Baldwin Park, Claremont, Covina, West Covina, Diamond Bar, Duarte, El Monte, Glendora, Industry, Irwindale, La Puente, La Verne, Monrovia, Monterey Park, Pasadena, Pomona, Rosemead, San Dimas, San Gabriel, San Marino, Sierra Madre, South El Monte, Temple City, Walnut, Carson, El Segundo, Gardena, Harbor City, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lomita, Long Beach, Manhattan Beach, Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Rolling Hills, San Pedro, Torrance and Wilmington, Calif.
For more information call 888-4-KINSHP or visit www.encoreparenting.org. The “Encore Parenting Project” is an active partnership through Aspiranet, Grandparents As Parents, California State University Long Beach, the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, the Child Welfare League of America, Family Service Agency of Long Beach, Casey Family Programs and other partner organizations.