321 Ways to Love: Local couple dedicates 35 years of service to Ventura County children and youth

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Barbara and Edward Williams

buy arial, illness sans-serif; font-size: 12pt;”>When Barbara and Edward Williams became a foster family in 1981, cost they couldn’t have foreseen the love that would fill their home.  Recently honored by Foster VC Kids and the Ventura County Board of Supervisors, the Williams have cared for 321 foster children and youth over the last 35 years. 

“Loving is really the only prerequisite for fostering,” says Barbara, who first began caring for children in Florida when she was just 14 years old.  “You will learn marvelous secrets of joy from these kids, even if they have challenges as they go along.  It will all work out with love.” 

Barbara, 69, and Edward, 72 are visited often by the youth they supported and influenced over the years.  Many of their former foster children were reunited with their biological families or adopted, but all are loved.  “A lot of people ask how you let them go,” says Barbara.  “But you just help them and love them as long as you can.  We treated them like we gave birth to them, and it didn’t matter how they got to us – we were just happy that they did and we could help them.” 

The need for loving homes for foster children and youth in Ventura County is just as significant as ever, with over 1,000 children and youth across Ventura County in need of support, guidance, and hope to help them thrive while separated from their families of origin.  Foster VC Kids identifies, trains, and supports foster families like the Williams as they welcome foster children into their homes.  “Many of our foster children would sleep in their clothes when they first came to our home,” recalls Barbara.  “They were so afraid they’d be taken away in the middle of the night.  When they began to wear their pajamas, we knew they were starting to accept our home and feel safe.” 

An extended and family

An extended and family

Today, the Williams have a multitude of grandkids and great grandkids from their extended families, and their hearts full of joy.  They share their stories of inspiration to shed light on the beautiful side of foster care, and to encourage others to get involved.  “They may not know how to care, how to act, or how to love,” says Barbara.  “But you’ll find some wonderful benefits in giving them a loving new start!”

The Williams’ long-term partnership with Foster VC Kids, a division of the Ventura County Human Services Agency, demonstrates the agency’s commitment to providing support and guidance to foster families, youth, and biological parents throughout Ventura County.  For more information on how you can help Ventura County’s foster youth in need, please contact Foster VC Kids at 805-654-3220 or visit www.fostervckids,org.   

 

 

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About Ventura County Human Services Agency, Foster VC Kids          

Ventura County Human Services Agency (VCHSA) strengthens families, supports self-sufficiency and promotes safety, health, and well-being. All of their service areas operate and perform at the highest level to meet the needs of individuals, families, and the community by providing assistance, aid, and protection for foster youth and beyond. VCHSA demonstrates the ability to work in multicultural environments and ensures that policies, programs, and actions communicate respect for the dignity of all people. Visit www.fostervckids.org for more information.

 

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