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Foster Mother Applauded for Extra Efforts

Wendy Bailey has fostered nearly 40 children and helps other foster parents learn the ropes.

Court Appointed Special Advocates annually honors an outstanding organization, educator and individual in Santa Cruz County whose special efforts help support children in the county’s foster care system.

In anticipation of the awards, Patch interviewed the three winners. This is the second of three Q&As where the honorees—in their own words—explain their motivation to serve.

Wendy Bailey, a foster parent educator, teaches people how to be foster parents through a program called SPARK—Successfully Parenting At-Risk Kids. She has been a foster mom for many children, and is a passionate and inspiring advocate throughout the community for the needs of youth in foster care. 

1. How did you become involved with CASA?

I first learned of CASA during the time I was fostering children. 

2. What has been your most meaningful experience with CASA?

One of my foster children had a CASA who had worked with her for years until she was finally adopted. The support and consistency that she provided for the child was one of the few things that helped her through her experience that included many changes in placement during her years in dependency.

3. What surprised you about working with CASA?

I have been surprised at the dedication and determination everyone has that is involved in CASA. Not just the CASA volunteers but also the CASA staff. They really want to see the best outcome for our children.

4. What other organizations in the county do you devote time and energy to?

I have been a foster parent for 16 years. During this time, I adopted three of my foster children. I have fostered close to 40 foster children. I work mostly with babies and children that have been prenatally exposed to substances. A county social worker and I, co-facilitate a support group for other foster parents. We also co-facilitate a group of classes called SPARK (Specialized Parenting for At Risk Kids). New foster parents take these classes to learn about the children they will be caring for. I am also a foster parent mentor. All of these programs are all through the Cabrillo College Foster and Kinship Education Program.

I have also been to UCSC with another CASA worker to present to the students, that take Infant Development,  information about substance exposure in infants. 

5. Obviously, not everyone has the time, ability or desire to work with children in foster care? What's one thing the average Santa Cruz County resident could do to help foster youth?

There are so many things that people can do to help the life of a foster child. Fostering a child is one of them, becoming a CASA is another. We need people to step forward. If you just want to help out at a different level by donating some time, or even items, you can call at 345-2700.

for their dedication to helping foster children at an event Monday evening in Watsonville.

Editor's Note: Who are the movers and shakers making a difference in Watsonville? Those who lead by example, change things around and make us better by challenging the status quo and having integrity? This is one installment in our .

Cathy P. August 13, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Wonderful story!
CapitolaGal August 13, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Kate, This is an article about honoring those who do step up to the plate and make a difference and not the 'horrow" ( I suspect you mean horrors) or foster care. There are many many excellent foster parents and advocates that have nothing but love and support for these children. As with all walks of life there are bad elements, but the system does what it can to weed them out. It is also with the help of people like Wendy and other CASA volunteers ( all of whom this article was meant to honor) that these abuses within the system get caught and corrected. it is these people who look out for the children and give them a voice, while helping to make the system a safer place. I know this because, I too, am a CASA volunteer. Because of this organization my kiddo, a 15 yo girl, is in a good home and is flourishing! So, instead of turning this into a story of "beasts" and turning it into something negative, let's keep it what it is a story to honor those who make a difference and do so because they are passionate, love kids, and want to make their world a better place to live! Kuddos to Wendy, the others that were honored, and all involved in CASA, they really make the world a better place!
regina bartlett August 14, 2012 at 03:26 AM
Sure is nice to have some good news stories in Watsonville! Thanks...more profiles such as these please!
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