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Opening Your Home to Children in Foster Care
A journey between four foster homes and three school districts

As the weather grows colder, and the holiday season approaches, we are reminded of warmth, family, and festive gatherings. We are also reminded that there are over 4,000 children living in foster care in our local community that may be experiencing a lot of emotions during the holidays, including grief and loss of family. Children who need our help. Children like Darla.

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Celebrating the Reed Family
National Adoption Month Family of the Year

family on adoption day with judge

November is National Adoption Month. It’s a month for bringing attention to issues surrounding adoption. For example, there is a great demand for foster-to-adopt families in our community. This need is particularly high among teens, sibling sets, and LGBTQ+ youth currently living in foster care.

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Morgan and a Dog Named Maxi
Creating a family through adoption

girl laying down on grass with Labrador dog

Morgan entered foster care when she was seven years old. Often moving between foster homes, she developed panic attacks and struggled with feelings of abandonment. When she was 13, she was placed with a family that seemed to promise stability, even if Morgan felt she couldn’t be herself around them. But by the time Morgan was 15, the placement had failed. Morgan ended up in a group home and was now self-harming. That’s when the county referred her to Stanford Sierra Youth & Families.

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A Commitment to Permanency & the Empowerment of Families
Corey's journey after 15 different foster placements

mom and son hugging

When Corey* was five, he was removed from his mother’s custody because of neglect and placed into protective care. Reunification with his mother was not an option and the county could not find relatives he could live with. Over the next six years, Corey was moved between 15 different foster placements and then placed in a group home. Corey struggled at school and had a hard time making friends.

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Meet Maggie Garcia, Community Engagement Coordinator
A knack for creativity to make a difference in children's lives

woman maggie garcia

Hello! I am Maggie Garcia, Stanford Sierra Youth & Families’ new Community Engagement Coordinator! I am currently based in Sacramento, but was born and raised in the Central Valley. I graduated from UC Merced with a Bachelor of Science in Management and Business Economics. During my time there, I was able to create my own opportunities and find my true passions – marketing, design, and anything digital which led me to pursue marketing roles in the health promotion, sports, entertainment, beverage, and renewable energy industries. 

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A Wonder Adventure
Supporting youth impacted by foster care

Bryce* is a 15-year-old Explorer in the Wonder Mentoring Program.  He’s been with his mentor, Patrick*, for about two years. Bryce enjoys the time they spend together playing disc golf, talking, or just hanging out.  While Bryce thrives in one-to-one settings, he isn’t as eager to spend time in groups. They can feel overwhelming to him. So when it came time to sign up for Camp Wonder (a summer camp for kids in Wonder), Bryce told Patrick he didn’t want to go.

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Children Deserve a Chance to Enjoy Life & Thrive
Sean & Ricky find their forever family

an adoptive mom hugging two brothers

Sean* (15) and Ricky* (14) are brothers. Sometimes they work with their dad, who owns a landscaping business. During the week, their mom drives them to school, music lessons, and team sports. With so much going on, the family often eats dinner separately, but every Sunday night, they sit down together to reflect on the week gone by and discuss the one ahead. Sean and Ricky lead meaningful lives, enriched by family and friends, but it wasn’t always this way.

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A Reunification Story
Gabrielle's journey back home

two adults and a young girl

Today Gabrielle* is a healthy, happy six-year-old girl looking forward to starting first grade in the fall. One of her parents is usually home with Gabrielle. On the odd day that both work the same shift, a friend of the family stops by to help. Gabrielle enjoys healthy meals, knows where she’s going to sleep each night, and is surrounded by adults who love and care for her. It wasn’t always this way.

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Family of the Year 2021: The Osorios
National Adoption Day Nomination

family with 3 kids

After many years of trying to grow their family, the Osorios were matched with a pair of siblings, Mackenzie and Noah.  Before joining the Osorios, Mackenzie and Noah had had very little exposure to the outside world.  They were emotionally dysregulated and in need of many forms of care.

Mackenzie often had tantrums.  She would throw and destroy objects around the house.  Noah had never seen a dentist.  Cavities in his baby teeth had spread to his adult teeth, which hadn’t come in yet.  Both children suffered developmental delays.

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There is Healing and Hope in a Loving, Stable Family
A story about brothers moved between five foster homes

two brothers

Before being referred to Stanford Sierra Youth & Families, Darren* (age 3) and Kevin* (age 5) had experienced significant trauma and loss. Darren, Kevin, and their older sister were removed from their home due to parental substance abuse and neglect. Child Protective Services placed the children with an aunt. Unfortunately, their aunt was unable to care for or properly supervise them. Late one night, the sister tried to run away and was struck by a car and died. The boys, already traumatized, were devastated.

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Erin and Kimberly’s Wonder Journey
Foster care can feel frightening, uncertain, and overwhelming

teen and mother

Erin* was 12 years old when she was removed from an abusive household and placed with a resource family in the foster care system. Like many traumatized children, Erin showed signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. Frequent nightmares made sleeping difficult. During the day she could be irritable and easily upset. She was hypervigilant when around others and preferred to spend time alone in her room.  

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Landon’s Journey to His Forever Family
Supporting children in care through our Destination Family program

teen boy

Landon* was placed into foster care when he was ten years old because his mother was addicted to drugs and unable to care for him. Landon often felt guilty for not being with his mother. Sometimes he lashed out at his foster families. He was moved three times in two years and had little stability in his life. When Landon turned 13, Child Protective Services referred him to Stanford Sierra’s Destination Family program (DF). 

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Samantha and Kate’s WONDER-ful Connection
A stable, consistent adult in a foster youth's life

We matched Kate about three and a half years ago when Samantha was six years old. Samantha was living in a foster home at the time and the family learned about the Wonder Mentoring Program through their social worker. Five months after the match started, for reasons unclear to us, the child was moved abruptly out of that home. Her grandparents, Raymond Foster and Rebecca Rice, stepped in to care of her. 

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The Gift of Family for the Holidays
Post-adoption support for a family of six who exemplify the mission of transforming lives

Rennie* (age 5) and Kai* (age 7) grew up in a home marked by domestic violence. When Child Protective Services intervened, both the boys were suffering deeply from the trauma they had endured.

Around this time a young couple, Grace and Doug Kiernan*, contacted Stanford Sierra Youth & Families.  They wanted to create their family through adoption, by opening their hearts and home to children who needed extra care. When a Stanford Sierra permanency worker told them about Rennie and Kai, they wanted to know more. 

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More than 4,000 Children in Care is the Sacramento Region
Daniel's life is immeasurably brighter today, thanks to people like you

Before Daniel was nine years old, he’d been physically and sexually abused, exposed to domestic violence, and removed from his parents’ home for his own safety. Child Protective Services placed him with his aunt and uncle. Daniel suffered tremendously from the effects of the trauma he’d endured. He was depressed, fearful, and occasionally aggressive.

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Meet Our Community Engagement Coordinator, Morgan Ramos
Together, we can ensure that all young people thrive

Image of Our New Community Engagement Coordinator, Morgan Ramos

Hi there! My name is Morgan Ramos, Sacramento native and new Community Engagement Coordinator at Stanford Sierra Youth & Families. I was born and raised in Sacramento and started my college career in the bay area. I soon realized that I preferred being close to family and friends and moved back to Sacramento to finish my schooling at Sacramento State. I graduated with degrees in Liberal Studies and History on my path to becoming a teacher, but found a passion for graphic arts and social media as it became more popular in the late 2000’s.