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Rotary Report: Foster parenting in Contra Costa County

 Jamie Rucki (at right) of Contra Costa County’s Children and Family Services, at a recent  meeting of the Martinez Rotary. (PAUL CRAIG / Courtesy)

Jamie Rucki (at right) of Contra Costa County’s Children and Family Services, at a recent
meeting of the Martinez Rotary. (PAUL CRAIG / Courtesy)

By PAUL CRAIG
Special to the Tribune

Contra Costa County has way too many abused or neglected kids. Fortunately, our County has a strong program to help them. Children and Family Services protects about 2,200 kids each year. These kids are placed with foster kid families. Lots of folks in our County participate. They find it satisfying. They get to help neglected kids find their way in life.

Jamie Rucki is the Resource Family Recruiter for Children and Family Services of Contra Costa County. Rucki explained to Martinez Rotary how the program works and how it helps kids. The kids in her program are – in her words – “fragile.”’ They’ve been through all sorts of angst. Many come from broken families. Some are HIV positive. Some have issues such as Tourette syndrome. Through the County program these kids get emotional and physical support. The program takes in kids from age nearly zero, to 21. They get a stable place to live in a nurturing environment. Some of the older kids go to DVC. The County provides them with a stipend to help cover costs. Most go on to lead productive lives.

The County program is looking for homes for these children. To participate, you need “space in your home and your heart.” You also need to: live in Contra Costa County; be 18 or older; be fingerprinted; and have adequate income. Your house must have adequate space and be safe and in good condition.

The best way to learn more about becoming a foster parent is to attend an orientation program. These are held regularly throughout the County. Lots of information is available at ehsd.org. You can also call the program at 866-313-7788

It’s sad that our County has so many abused or neglected kids. It’s great that our County has wonderful programs to help them. Thanks Jamie for an inspiring Rotary talk! You may have inspired some of us to become involved. I hope so!

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