On February 13th 2013, Angels In Waiting authored Assembly Bill 1133, which received a 100% bipartisan “Yes” Vote, was signed by Governor Jerry Brown and became California State Law on January 1st 2014. Nine months later, the “All County Letter”, a letter created by California’s Department of Social Service to inform all Departments of Children and Family Services though-out California about new laws effecting foster care infants and children has still not been written.
However, Los Angeles County of Children and Family Services, heard about the new state law and our cost-effective Nurse-Foster Provider program, created by Angels In Waiting (AIW), through a conference where other counties were utilizing AIW’s Nurse-Foster Providers. The other agencies enthusiastically complemented AIW’s innovative nursing program, the nurses caring for their medically fragile foster care children, and AIW’s extremely high nurse-adoption rates. Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services Recruitment Team, decided to be proactive and not wait for the All County Letter to be written. They have over 71 medically fragile foster care infants and children each of which needs to find a home and a nurse foster Mommy or Daddy to care for these precious innocent souls.
Too many of the foster care population are premature infants who were delivered early due maternal use of illicit-drugs. This is a crisis many of our local Neo-Natal Intensive Care units are experiencing, due to the rise in the combined use of Meth and Black Tar Heroin, creating complications of unseen proportions. Just last week AIW helped place several medically fragile preemies, that were on methadone or a similar potent synthetic pharmaceuticals to mitigate the preemies drug withdrawals, which only complicates the underlying medical conditions that qualify these innocent souls as medically fragile.
Angels In Waiting would like to commend the Los Angels Department Of Children and Family Services for “Stepping-up” and requesting AIW’s help in recruiting Nurse-Foster Providers for their Medically Fragile Foster Care Population as an alternative to placing them in group homes, institutional care settings, or in homes with less educated and poorly supported foster parents.
Thank You Los Angeles County Department Of Children and Family Services “Recruitment Team” for reaching out to AIW to help your medically fragile foster care population to find homes and a good chance for adoption through the hearts and hands of Nurse-Foster Providers. For I have seen first hand numerous times the miracles that occur through the hearts and hands of our Nurse-Foster Providers.
Through public recognition and awareness, Angels In Waiting and our Nurse Foster Program can make a bigger impact in the welfare of medically fragile foster care children. While compiling this report, I chose to go behind the scenes and touch on the power and passion of one nurse and what that dynamism has been able to accomplish. Linda West-Conforti, RN and founder of Angels In Waiting, was honored for her unique nursing accomplishments at the 2014 Nursing Excellence GEM Awards - Giving Excellence Meaning. Linda was one of the Regional Finalist in the Volunteerism and Service group and later was nominated as a finalist for the National Nurse of the Year Award. Public recognition of nursing excellence has been an important part of the acknowledgement of nurses an a profession, has added to the flight of Angels In Waiting in networking and recruiting more nurses. Linda has watched her dream unfold over the past seven years and now has more than 50 nurses who have joined Angels In Waiting and many other states interested in her program.
As quoted by Linda during her acceptance speech: “Because of the dedication and commitment of nurse foster parents, many of the foster care children are in healthy, permanent homes and well on their way to a more promising future." This could not be more apparent then in Linda’s adopted, medically fragile child, Sammy. Sammy is now 11 years old and was recognized this year at his school an award for being a Conflict Manager - helping address conflicts on the playground. After many situations on the playground, Sammy intervened to stop “bullying,” and when a position as Conflict Manager came available, Sammy made an appointment with the principal to apply. Also this year, he was also awarded a certificate for “Caring." Sammy’s full story is available on Angels In Waiting website: http://www.angelsinwaitingusa.org/sammy.php
I’d like to end this report by saying, without the loving care of a qualified nurse, many of these unfortunate infants and children would not be given the chance to be an award-winning child through their schools or have someone there to take pictures, post them on facebook and give the child a chance to feel “proud." Angels In Waiting and their nurses give a child the home, love and opportunity they so deserve.
“Even the most fragile infants and children when given a chance can become something very special in this world.” Sammy wants to be President one day and you know what, I think he will.
A special thanks goes to our Global Supporters who gives Angels In Waiting the necessary support to network, document and recruit nurses. Many of our nurses adopt the children they take care of, and so Angels In Waiting is continually recruiting more nurses. We at Angels In Waiting say: “job well done”! Thank you Globalgiving.
Written by Volunteer Manager of Angels In Waiting, Nancy Van Buskirk
Angels In Waiting is greatly honored to draw attention to a young life that had its beginnings in the tragedy of entering into our heavily burden foster care system. Thanks to one of our Nurse-Foster Providers Amy, this precious soul is now engulfed in a life that has evolved into joy, determination and strength. When a congenital malformation occurs in an unborn baby, at times their tiny but powerful spirits will rise up to heal their imperfections and make them whole. The powers of spirit, and let’s not forget prayer, helped transform Krislynn Joy. She is a heroic little girl who has transcended and is overcoming her inherited physical disabilities.
Krislynn entered this world as a ward of the state, AKA a foster care newborn. She was one of many innocent medically fragile newborns entering into our foster care system. She had hydrocephalus, spina bifida and a severely cleft palate. She was also drug-exposed. Amy is a gallant, dedicated nurse, with intensive care pediatric experience and the dedication necessary to take a medically fragile infant across the threshold of her front door and into her love-filled home. Nurse-foster mommy Amy began the noble task of helping Krislynn heal (body, mind and spirit) and instilling in her mind the security of having no physicals limitations. This installation stifled her inherited disabilities, empowered her abilities and enabled her mind to aid her body in the healing process. Krislynn underwent several surgeries in her first year of life---on her spine, her brain, and to place a feeding tube in her belly. At 11 months old, a successful operation healed the cleft palate and gave her the potential to sing her song (and eat food by mouth)!
The most long-term aspect of Krislynn's condition is the Spina Bifida, or the split spine condition that had caused her paralysis. When Amy was considering adopting Krislynn, her neurosurgeon was firm: “I want you to know that I don’t think she will be mobile”. Krislynn has gone from complete immobility to being able to move her arms and legs freely as she crawls. She can climb the staircase leading up to a slide, and she is now STANDING while she plays at her water table in the backyard! There is great hope for an eventual surgical repair for Krislynn’s split spine aberration. Spinal surgery techniques become more sophisticated every year, and her condition will undoubtedly be repairable within the near future.
Despite already taking care of four children, her exceptional dedicated nurse has given Krislynn a forever home. She was legally adopted on Valentine’s Day, 2014. People often comment on how “nice” it is that she would open her home up to a disabled orphan, but Amy just smiles and says, “She truly is a JOY to our family!”
Dear Cherished Donors,
Before the end of 2013, I ask you to think about what we have accomplished during this year. Angels In Waiting USA continues to works to ensure our progress in 2014 and beyond. Please consider us for your annual end of the year charitable tax writeoff. Together We Can Save Countless Childhoods.
In 2013 We...
We recruited numerous Nurse-Foster Providers to take into their homes innocent medically fragile and special needs foster care infants and children.
We sponsored and authored a California State Bill "AB 1133" that won 100% support and "yes" votes by California's state Senators and Assembly Members.
We were recognized in media outlets about our Nurse-Foster parent program and AIW shed light on issues important to the medically fragile foster care population we serve.
We provided political information nation wide and took public stands on important issues being decided by our government regarding infants and children who are medically fragile and in our foster care system and have been sought after to sponsor a similar bills in other States.
We are able to do this because YOU were part of that work, and your commitment is deeply appreciated.
In order to accomplish our goals we must ask for your financial support. Angels In Waiting USA is visible in the fight for medically fragile foster care equality nation wide. It also allows us to better support local and state successes as Nurse-Foster Providers across the country carry out their viable, life saving nurse-foster programs and work.
Now is the time to continue to build our efforts, and to grow our noble nursing-foster provider programs, but without you, it will not happen!
YOU are important to the continued efforts for saving America’s forgotten infants and children and I ask you now to take a moment, make a gift to our program on Global Giving and help us move forward.
Don't put it off; donate now for your 2013 tax write-off and help Angels In Waiting continue our important work. Do it for your loved ones and ours, but give now. Your gift is tax deductible, and it will make a difference! I wish you a very Happy New Year as we continue to work together to promote progress for America's forgotten medically fragile and special needs foster care infants and children.
Warmest Regards, Linda West - Conforti RN Founder of Angels In Waiting
Angels In Waiting forth quarter report 2013
A foundation For Success
The signing into law by Governor Brown of a state bill that will place medically fragile infants into the hands of properly trained nurses is the cornerstone upon which AIW will build a powerful structure to house the bodies and souls of these precious life challenged infants. State Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell did a sterling job in ushering this bill Into California’s State Law.
The Future Challenge
There are still challenges to be overcome in fully implementing the AIW program. Medi-Cal still has stringent criteria for the types of infants who meet the requirements for billable nursing hours. Nurses are only paid for their services when the infant meets the Title 22 regulations, which necessitate indwelling catheters, feeding tubes, six medications or more, and tracheotomies. AIW is working to make these requirements more flexible and conducive to treating a wider range of medically fragile infants and children who need nursing services to thrive. Even if the infant does qualify under Title 22 regulations, there still exists a problem with timely compensation to nurses. Nurses who bring on a new medically fragile foster care child, may have to wait 3-6 months to be reimbursed by Medi-Cal for her nursing services this is a tremendous hard ship for the dedicated Nurse-Foster Providers (parents) who often are the primary or sole provider for their household.
An example of humanitarian selflessness in our nurses recently occurred when a nurse heard of an infant who had suffered 16 multiple fractures from her drug-addicted mother. Even though the infant spent 30 days in the hospital and still needs numerous dressing changes, this precious Angel in waiting does not qualify for nursing hours under Title 22 regulations. This noble nurse took the infant into her home and is slowly healing her broken body, spirit and soul even though she is receiving no compensation for the intensive care nursing skills she is administering. AIW has seen a vast number of nurses who have shown this type of dedication to saving these precious souls.
Meeting Of The Minds
Due to our 5 star rating, we recently met with two charming representatives from Global Giving who discussed with us ways and means that we might gain greater exposure for our organization by fully utilizing the services and resources that Global Giving affords. We greatly appreciate their input.
A Glorious Year
2013 has been an extraordinarily productive year for Angels In Waiting. We have ridden a whirlwind of success and the anticipation of greater success for the coming year. Our benefactors have been marvelous in continuing to support our program, and we wish you all the best of everything this Glorious Thanksgiving. Please enjoy the e-card we made for you. http://www.smilebox.com/playBlog/4d7a67334d4445304d44413d0d0a&blogview=true
Linda West-Conforti & Tim Arnold
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