Fostering Community

By Faith Lewis

Being placed in foster care means losing your support system.
It means changing homes and families, schools and friends. For the nearly 1,400 foster care children in San Joaquin County, it can be an isolating experience. This is why Parents by Choice prioritizes creating a community for the children they place in homes.

Parents by Choice is a foster care and foster-to-adopt agency that was founded in 2006 by Tony Yadon with the idea that children and their families should be the priority.

“He previously worked at another foster care agency, but their goal wasn’t what he thought it should be,” says Stephanie Iaccino, Director of Community Engagement at Parents by Choice. “He wanted an agency with the primary focus on children and creating a positive experience for them by providing different events.”

With this in mind, Parents by Choice has created a supportive community environment for its families. The kids are welcomed back to the agency for events like spa days, paintball wars, and holiday parties. 

“We host these special events because we want to give children a positive experience while in foster care,” says Stephanie.

With more than 50 foster families throughout San Joaquin and surrounding counties, Parents by Choice specializes in foster-to-adopt placements. Whether these families end up being the child’s forever home or not, Parents by Choice is there to support the kids and their families. Monthly Foster Parent Trainings allow the kids an opportunity to mingle while the parents develop their own support system.

After foster children turn 18 and are phased out of the system, Parents by Choice makes an effort to continue to offer them support through their Transitional Housing Program. Moving beyond simply helping to provide a physical living space for these young adults, the agency helps teach them life skills such as cooking, budgeting, and interviewing techniques through one-on-one and group classes.

Even if you aren’t a foster parent, Parents by Choice recognizes that children don’t come with instructions and sometimes parents just need a helping hand. They realized that their agency could serve as a support for the general community as well, which led to a six-session Positive Parenting Program that is open and free to the public.

“I haven’t heard of any other agencies that have this type of support and community system,” says Stephanie. “Parents by Choice is really good about that.”

For More Information:
Parents by Choice
2423 W. March Ln., Stockton
(209) 478-4554
Parentsbychoice.net

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