Foster families share a picnic in the park

Foster famlies gathered at the Thrive Family Picnic Day at Boquet Park in Santa Clarita. Georgia Rios/The Signal
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Foster families came out to Bouquet Park Saturday afternoon for a fun filled day of activities and classes.

“This is a picnic day for our foster youth families in the Santa Clarita Valley. I started the event last year after talking with foster families and learning their needs,” explained Lauren Frey, homeless and foster youth liaison for the Saugus Union School District. “A lot of them expressed a need for respite care, so being able to have someone come in to take care if the kids so that they can have a break, as well as not having extra time and or money for their kids to do sports and extracurricular activities.”

The event partnered with College of the Canyons, who provided families certification classes, since the regulation for becoming a foster family or relative caregiver changed.

While parents engaged in the classes, their children enjoyed a variety of structured activities, including sports, face paintings and water-balloon tosses.

A child gets his face painted during the foster family picnic at Bouquet Park. Georgia Rios./The Signal.

According to Frey, within the Saugus Union School District there are 35 foster families or relative caregivers while between the Hart, Newhall and Sulphur Springs School districts, there are “easily 200” families.

During the event, parents also had the opportunity to talk with local resources and other families so that they could have more of a support system and share resources in the Santa Clarita Valley.

“We are definitely trying to bring awareness of getting more foster parents and spread for the need, especially to keep our students at their school of origin” said Frey. “So if they are placed in foster care, they’re usually placed outside of the Santa Clarita Valley because that’s where there are foster homes available, so we’re really trying to recruit more foster parents so our kids, can stay in their community where things are familiar and to keep that simple for them.”

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