Sierra Forever Families
Sierra Forever Families' (Sierra) mission is to transform the lives of children and youth in foster care by building and nurturing permanent families. We believe while some children might need temporary care, every child NEEDS a forever family who provides them with a lifelong, safe, stable and secure parenting relationship with love and unconditional commitment.
Trained therapists offer individual, family and group therapy through Sierra's Therapeutic Support Services (TSS) program. These therapists provide comprehensive mental health services with a specialty focus on trauma, grief and loss, attachment and permanency issues with the goal of creating a stronger family unit. Mental health services are provided to Sierra families in Sacramento, Placer and Nevada counties. Other mental health services are also provided by our post-adoption services in Colusa, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Siskiyou, Sierra, Sutter, and Yuba Counties.
Destination Family recruits families for children who are living in long-term foster care and nurtures and supports these families to ensure healthy, effective relationships. Without specialized services and a permanent connection to a family, many of these youth will age out of the system. Specifically, the team wraps supports around children to prepare them for a family. The team provides family finding services, child-focused recruitment and on-going family support services. Over one-hundred youth annually receive these services in Sacramento, Placer, and Nevada Counties.
The Destination Family program now includes staff from Capital Kids are Waiting and Wendy's Wonderful Kids.
During 2015-2016, 154 youth were served. At the end of the fiscal year, there were:
- 17 adoption finalizations
- 6 guardianships
- 4 life-long connections
- 3 reunifications
The need is still great. In Sacramento County, there are more than 2,800 children and youth in out-of-home care with half of them in long-term foster care. Many of these kids have more than one barrier to adoption. They may be medically fragile, ethnically diverse, teenagers, or part of a sibling set that should not be separated. All have suffered neglect, abandonment, or abuse and may need mental health services.
The Wonder Mentoring program matches children living in foster care (the Explorer), one-to-one, with caring, consistent adults (their Guide) who commit to spending 8-10 hours per month with them. The adult mentors are trained to listen, support, and guide their match through a year-long journey of fun, age-appropriate experiences in music, the arts, sports, and nature. These activities, while being a normal part of growing up for most children, are often sadly missing from the life of a foster child. These excursions not only serve to spark a passion in the child for the world around them, but they also result in a sense of wonder that may have been missing from their lives. The stability of a caring relationship and new found interest can ultimately lead to an increased number of Wonder youth finding permanent loving families.
With the mission to strengthen the emotional and social well-being of children and youth in foster care by building relationships with caring, consistent adults so they can thrive, Wonder is a positive intervention to break the cycle of abuse and neglect by helping children relate to others, handle stress, and make good decisions. The Wonder Mentoring Program gives children in foster care a sense of hope for their future. Wonder helps stabilize children in out-of-home care and shows them there are adults who care about them.
- During the past fiscal year, 86 children benefited from Wonder
Sierra Forever Families provides Family Preservation services through a Nevada County contract. The program uses a strength-based, multi-disciplinary approach to preserve stability for families and prevent children from entering the foster care system. Services are provided in-home and include case management, mental health treatment, and parent education. During the past fiscal year, 76 children benefited from services provided by the Family Preservation program. The program is funded through a Nevada County contract and private donations.
The contract for the Family Preservation program has been renewed annually for the past three years by the County of Nevada Child Protective Services. Using a team approach, each family's unique strengths and needs are assessed.
- During 2014-2015, 76 children and their families benefited from the program receiving therapy and wraparound services, as appropriate