Each year in San Diego County, at least 1,500 infants and toddlers are victims of abuse and neglect. Many of them will enter the traditional foster care system and bounce from home to home – an average of four times in the first year. This disruptive care causes life-long damage to a child’s brain at the most critical period of development.
Angels Foster Family Network, a San Diego foster family agency dedicated to transforming the lives of neglected and abused infants and toddlers, aims to change this statistic. Founded by Cathy Richman of La Mesa in 1998, Angels was a response to the crisis she witnessed as a volunteer with the San Diego County Juvenile Court. Cathy, Angel’s CEO, developed an innovative model of foster care dedicated to placing victimized babies with the most carefully-screened and trained families. In 1999, Angels placed its first baby, and as of September 2012, over 550 babies have been rescued through the program. Today, about half the children are ultimately adopted by their Angels families.
One such family is the Barron family of Carlsbad. Kristen and Dan, a local fireman and stay-at-home mom, were married in 1996 and have fostered four babies in just as many years. After four years of tremendous heartache trying to conceive and failed pregnancies, they stumbled upon Angels in 2009. After a scrupulous screening process the couple became certified and waited for that first call for a baby needing their care. Soon after, the Barron's we're blessed with 15-month old baby Jeremiah in August of that year and continued to foster babies in need (including a six-week old baby with 21 broken bones and another 28-day-old little boy who was born drug addicted. Jeremiah, a very handsome, smart and happy baby, has been officially adopted by the Barrons. The family continues to foster and has been home to a sweet 2-month-old baby since December 2011. This adoption is almost complete as well.
To make these happy endings a reality and to continue to help set the littlest ones in foster care on the path to a happy, well adjusted life, Angels will be holding their annual fundraising event, An Evening with Angels, for the first time as an evening affair on Friday, October 12th at 6:00 pm at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine. This inspiring evening will put the spotlight on the experiences of children in the foster care system and how the Angels model ensures a bright, thriving future.
The event will be emceed by San Diego radio personality and former Angels foster parent Jeff Detrow, of the Jeff and Jer Showgram and will include a hosted cocktail reception, elegant seated dinner, live and silent auction, VIP reception and the keynote address of best-selling author and screenwriter, Antwone Fisher, who will share the moving story of his harrowing journey through the traditional foster care system.
The evening will also feature the presentation of the Halo Award, honoring Annika Winter, Angels’ Program Director, and Sara Lucchini, Angels’ senior social worker, for their dedication to the Angels’ mission of transforming the foster care system. In celebrating their nearly 14 years of connecting children with safe and loving families, Angels Foster Family Network is pleased to continue their mission of “transforming foster care, one family at a time” with the support of the San Diego community.