Last month, the Bay Area Region unveiled its newly remodeled professional parent cottage with a virtual ribbon cutting. This cottage is located on Pacific Clinics’ Los Gatos campus and is used to provide free housing for professional parents as they support and care for high-risk children and teens in foster care.
In attendance were the professional parent who will be moving into the cottage, Bay Area Clinical Director Simon Purse, Placement Support Services (PSS) Program Manager Lupe Kelly-Levin, Resource Parent Recruiter Fina Muñoz and other members of the PSS team.
Why On-Campus Housing?
Pacific Clinics has seen success in assisting professional parents both through on-campus homes and helping sign off-campus leases. However, on-campus housing provides additional benefits that are more difficult to replicate in more traditional housing options.
Pacific Clinics has spent the past several years moving away from congregate care style foster care, which is expensive and provides unreliable outcomes. Placing children and teens directly in family homes has proven to be successful both in California and nationwide. Opening a home on our campus lifts some of the burden off of the professional parent who might not otherwise have the resources or space to accommodate a child or teen.
These renovations are part of an effort to update our on-campus homes to provide children and teens in foster care with a greater sense of stability. The high cost of living is one of the biggest barriers to supporting high-risk children and teens and the opening of on-campus homes provides our professional parents with free housing and utilities in a fully furnished home.
Other benefits of living on campus include direct access to Pacific Clinics’ support structure, a dedicated Los Gatos Police Department liaison, housing stability and a landlord who will always be open to supporting high-risk teenagers. On top of that, there is direct access to hiking trails, a recreation room, a gymnasium and a playground on the expansive campus grounds.
What is a Professional Parent?
A professional parent is someone who offers support to children and teens during times of transition in their lives. As the name suggests, this role is a caregiver who can support a child or teen full-time. Because of that, Pacific Clinics provides a wealth of resources, trainings, dedicated support staff, rental assistance or free housing, vacation time and a generous stipend to cover living expenses for the caregiver and the child or teen in their care.
Professional parents can offer either short-term or long-term support. Short-term support (up to 60 days) is meant to stabilize children and teens while preparing for a permanent family placement. This program is handled through our Placement Support Services team and works with children and teens in foster care of any age.
Long-term support, on the other hand, is most often used as a longer bridge for teenagers and young adults, aged 13-20, who need higher levels of care before finding a permanent placement. This program can place a child or teen with a professional parent for up to six months while replicating the stability of a permanent home until the teen is ready for their family placement.
Other types of professional parenting can include specialized, short-term care for teenagers while awaiting family placement, and respite care, which is a form of temporary care used while the primary caregiver takes time off.
Interesting in Learning More?
We are always looking to welcome new professional parents to our team. If you’d like to learn more, you can contact Fina Muñoz or fill out our online form and someone from our team will get in touch with you.