Guiding Light is a foster family placement agency. While there are several agencies in and around San Bernardino County, there remains a great need for these services. Our goal is to to assure children are placed in loving and caring homes that best match their cultures and temperaments.
Behavioral and Mental Health Support
In order to assure we are serving all of our most vulnerable populations, we have entered into
partnerships with the following entities:
Jackson Family Human Services - who specializes in ABA therapy (Applied Behavior Analysis)
Valerie Munoz - A marriage and family therapist (MFT) who specializes in working with children through therapy play and other proven techniques
These partnerships will be assets, as currently, wait times to place children in such services is extensive. Often, by the time services are to begin, the child has moved on and is now forced to begin the process all over again depending on his/her placement. This partnership may allow the circumvention of extended waiting periods to enroll a child in need of behavioral services, instead, the child would be fast tracked so they can receive immediate attention.
Additionally, we have secured a Marriage and Family Therapist to engage the children in one on one sessions. These counseling sessions would allow the child to express their emotions and concerns in a safe and private setting.
Lastly, we are in talks with yet another mental health organization that may possibly add an additional layer to our mental health supports for not only our children, but our resource parents and social workers as well. This is very important as many times we tend to focus on the children and overlook the mental health needs of our resource parent and staff members.
To address deficits within the foster care system, Guiding Light has established a foster liaison position within our agency. embed itself in such a manner as to support our foster children’s pedagogical efforts; to the extent that they are successful in mastering their educational goals. We will work closely with school site staff so we assure that we close the gap on the concept of no child left behind in that we will seek to mitigate any concerns that would have our foster children “slipping through the cracks” educationally. We will work to attend relevant meetings such as IEP’s as well as school functions that matter to our foster children. In this way we support our foster children, their resource parents, and we create meaningful relations with our schools.
This liaison will also assist resource parents in a manner that instructs them to advocate for their foster children, as well as having the ability to inform biological parents regarding any needs to be met, if and when the child is reunited with his parent/s.
Currently Guiding Light has secured the support of both the superintendent of schools in both Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. Dr. Edwin Gomez and Ted Alejandre have proven to be catalysts for student success and as such Guiding Light is happy to have their supports.
Guiding Light intends to engage the community in a variety of manners to involve, recognize, offer, support and utilize the talents of our community partners.
It is our hope to work with the city’s Parks and Recreation divisions to the extent that all children who wish to be involved in sports can be. We will use local resources such as libraries to hold events, and we will involve local governments and its members where permitted, to teach our foster children the power they have to effect change in policies. At this time we have been offered the whole hearted support of the mayor of Victorville, Mrs. Debra Jones in our efforts to positively impact the lives of our foster youth, and by default the community.
Guiding Light will also invite local law enforcement and fire departments to be a part of our coalition and participate in educational programs. They may offer first and CPR training to our youth, or provide workshops on hate and crimes against others.
By offering these workshops, and by inviting to the table influential community leaders, we are establishing a working relationship between our agency and these community leaders, but more importantly we are establishing a pattern of caring and building a positive image of what can be for all our children. As they become familiar with local entities they are less likely to hold animosities toward these persons or entities and hopefully instead learn and grow from these experiences.
These interactions will help build character, self-esteem and positive feelings. When a child possess these characters he/she is less likely to act out and retention in placements is easier to attain. These connections can also serve as added support system to our youth and by proxy for our resource parents.
By inviting to the table community leaders, businesses, educators, clergy, mental health professionals, and other involved community members we will build a strong coalition that will help Guiding Light
address concerns such as …
✔ Commercially Sexually Exploited Children
✔ Members of the LGBTQ community
✔ Children with special needs
✔ Children that are struggling in school
✔ Children of Domestic Violence
✔ Children that have experienced homelessness
And so many more topics.
Through these forums Guiding Light will seek to offer continuous trainings, as well as assistance for not only our foster children and their resource parents, but for our staff as well. In this manner our staff are knowledgeable and capable in working with our children and resource families on these topics when and if they should arise. Our staff will have not only a strong support system in place to address the many needs that arise in foster care, but may also have quality referrals to assist with matters when and if they do surface.
Guiding Light recognizes that Tribal communities operate differently from their surrounding neighbors. Thus, in effort to create a strong relationship with these communities we have begun talks with UCLA’s
Retention of American Indians Now Program (RAIN), who is currently working with Tribes in the Los Angeles area. The focus will be on how we can positively impact that community, especially as it relates
to foster care and allowing placements to be kept on the reservations, when and if it is appropriate.
In addition, Guiding Light understands that faith can play a major role in shaping a person’s culture. Sports, other youth programs, and other community arts and leisure pastimes can help a child develop his or her own character and possibly assist the child in developing a hobby or passion. Thus with this understanding, Guiding Light hopes to create a community forum where we bring community partners to the table and invite them to participate and be involved in the lives of our foster children. We hope to utilize the expertise of each community members talents, and gifts both as guest speakers at the forum and to serve as mentors to our youth. In return Guiding Light will support these organizations by serving on their boards, patronizing their establishments and highlighting their participation in the community.
While Guiding Light acknowledges that the LGBTQ population faces many obstacles, least of
which is being targeted for hate crimes, Guiding Light will treat this population as we would
treat any population and offer services and attention to those in need. We feel that to single
them out for special attention above other groups requiring the same, such as children with
disabilities would be doing them an injustice and actually create an atmosphere of separation. That being said we plan to offer specialized services and trainings for this population the same as we would for children of domestic violence or commercially sexually exploited children, as we feel each and every concern and hurdle for our children is a barrier we wish to address and if not eliminate, lessen.