Volume XXVII | April 19, 2023

The Good Stuff in Child Welfare
Welcome to The Good Stuff in Child Welfare!
Our team at the Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice, & Research recognizes that between the all too frequent and grim child welfare stories that make us teary-eyed, clenched-fisted, and faint-hearted, there are inspiring accomplishments and heartening endeavors taking place all over this country at every level of practice. To elevate and promote these encouraging stories, we are pleased to bring you this monthly newsletter emphasizing news stories only about “The Good Stuff” from the broad field of child welfare. This month, we share uplifting stories of innovation from coast to coast. We hope this read gives you a few moments of hopefulness and a sense of possibility.
If there's something you'd like to see here, shoot us an email. Know someone who could use a little Good Stuff in Child Welfare? Send them a copy! We hope you love it as much as we do.
'A Chance to Thrive, Not Just Survive' Home Built for Foster Family Almost Complete
H3 Collective, a group in Western North Carolina that does work to recruit and support foster families in their local area, is almost done with its inaugural venture of building a professional foster parent home. The goal was to create a living space large enough to accommodate sibling groups, allowing them to stay connected. Through the H3 Collective program, homes are built or renovated for licensed foster parents to live in with children in foster care. After completion of the first home in Buncombe County, H3 Collective plans to take its program to other counties in Western North Carolina with homes currently under renovation in Henderson County, and planned construction on land that has been secured in Transylvania County.

Caritas Highlights Importance of Social Workers
Caritas Family Solutions’ mission is to strengthen individuals’ and families’ social and emotional well-being to create healthy relationships, loving homes, and strong communities. Last month for National Social Work Month, the Southern Illinois organization highlighted the vital role of social workers and their critical services by providing staff support and trauma-informed training. “Being a social worker is both an honor and a privilege. We recognize our staff this month because the work they do often goes unnoticed by the outside world,” said Executive Director of Child Welfare, Hope Carbonaro. Caritas is the largest foster care provider in Southern Illinois and serves more than 7,000 people, including 1,700 foster children.

A Place for Foster Teens to Feel Safe in Newberry 
LilyPad, a non-profit organization, has opened a safe space for youth in foster care in Newberry, South Carolina. Many kids in foster care have to stay in the Department of Social Services’ offices for extended periods of time, where youth-friendly space was lacking. Founders Jennifer and Ben Tice have led the creation of seven spaces since the origination of LilyPad in 2022. They aim to provide a comfortable environment with amenities like furniture, sleeping spaces, linens, a TV, and a Nintendo Switch. The goal of LilyPad is to provide a room like this in every county in South Carolina.

Building a Foundation for Young Women Who’ve Aged Out of Foster Care: Unfaulted
Unfaulted, a non-profit organization in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, provides a safe space for young women who have aged out of the foster care system. It was founded by Desiree Boone who aged out of care herself and understands the challenges. This article highlights the organization’s offerings, including a residential program that includes mentorship, education, and life skills training to help with the transition to independent living successfully. Unfaulted also provides community outreach programs, including a food pantry, to help support the wider community of young people who have aged out of the foster care system.

She’s Helping LA's Foster Kids and Juggling High School. Meet the Teenage Founder Behind the Non-Profit Coco’s Angels
The Tehranchi sisters created Coco’s Angels to support foster children and eradicate the inequities kids in the system face, particularly regarding their education. After a personal encounter with a child in the foster care system, sixteen-year-old Layla Tehranchi and her older sister, Delara, have ambitions to give every student in foster care in Los Angeles a fair playing field to succeed. Coco’s Angels collaborates with organizations with a collective mission to create change that allows each young person in their community to have justice, especially regarding school. “Doing a little research and finding something that you’re passionate about, and getting in contact with organizations—even sending one email! —can do so much,” says Layla.

Businesses Donate to Department of Social Services Foster Care Program
In North Carolina, Jim Dandy Convenience Stores and Coca-Cola Consolidated recently presented a $5,000 donation to the Carteret County Department of Social Services (DSS) to support local foster care programs. In December, a portion of sales was collected from each bottle of Coca-Cola sold at a Jim Dandy store, with proceeds going toward youth in the care of Carteret County DSS. This is the third consecutive year that both companies collaborated on a fundraiser supporting the Carteret County Foster Care program, raising $13,750. “This generous contribution has allowed us to fulfill our goals of expanding opportunities for our children to participate in after-school learning programs, strengthening their connections in our community, and maintaining children in family or kinship homes by alleviating financial costs of these programs,” says Kody Krebs, a child welfare program manager with DSS.

Foster Care Nonprofit Opens Film Production Studio
Hollywood nonprofit Kids in the Spotlight has just opened a brand-new production studio to facilitate the creation of original films by youth in the foster care system in Los Angeles County. The new studio is equipped with different sets, such as a classroom and a kitchen, to allow filmmakers to create their own projects without needing to rent a space. For over a decade, KITS has been connecting youth in foster care to the Hollywood industry, with programs that include a Script to Screen program and an annual awards program. KITS founder Tige Charity called the opening of the new production studio “surreal.” She says it means opportunities, job securities, and “I am part of a family.”

The Field Center team would like to thank the staff and students who brought this newsletter together. Specifically, we recognize Felicia Saunders, Richard Wren, Meghan Chasar and Em Brandon for their contributions in providing readers with this uplifting content. Many thanks to our Associate Director Sarah Wasch for editing and our Administrative Coordinator Felicia Saunders for handling design and distribution. Special thanks to our Managing Faculty Director, Dr. Johanna Greeson for her idea to curate the “good news stories” happening in child welfare!