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Conference to Shine a Light on Our Community’s Foster Children

October 25, 2014 from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Miracles happen when an adult becomes a lifetime parent for a foster child. The first annual Foster Youth Advocacy Conference in Ventura will give people the education and resources they need to begin creating even more of these miracles.

The Conference, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 25 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., will focus on What All Children Need: Unconditional Commitment. Speakers include County Supervisor Steve Bennett, who is deeply involved in foster care issues, and inspirational speaker Pat O’Brien, founder of You Gotta Believe!

“We are at a critical point in Ventura County and the public needs to know just how important it is that our community’s children receive committed, caring families,” explains Supervisor Steve Bennett. “Education is the key to finding new families and, through the Conference, we hope to help people understand what they can do to create healthy, well-balanced children. These children are our future.”

There will also be a panel discussion with former foster youth who will share their deeply moving stories and the benefits of forming a long-term relationship with caring adults.

It’s a heart-breaking statistic that, in the United States alone, 20,000 young people will reach adulthood this year and leave foster care without ever experiencing a loving parent. In Ventura County, VCHSA currently serves approximately 900 children who have been removed from their families due to abuse or neglect and placed in our foster care system. Around 40 percent, or 320 children are aged 0 to 5, and 60 percent are school aged between the ages of 6 and 21. In addition, youth who transition from foster care are at a high-risk for homelessness and a large number will land in prisons, become hospitalized, or experience serious health and emotional challenges during their lifetimes. Only a very small percentage will ever earn a college degree.

“Our goal is to educate and inspire people to experience the brave, selfless, and unbelievably rewarding journey that comes with fostering or adopting a child. In fact, all parents can benefit from the education and learning that will be offered at the Conference,” said Barry L. Zimmerman, Director of Ventura County Human Services Agency.

The conference is open to everyone interested in learning more about serving foster youth and current caregivers of foster youth. A free lunch will be served and free childcare will be available at the site. It will be held at the Ventura Missionary Church at Willet Center, 500 High Point Drive in Ventura CA 93003. To register, go to or call Victoria Camacho at 805.654.3220.

The Foster Youth Advocacy Conference is sponsored by the Ventura County Human Services Agency, Children and Family Services in partnership with: Koinonia Family Services, Arrow Child and Family Services, Aspiranet, Casa Pacifica, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), Dark to Dawn, Kids and Families Together, Foster Kinship Care Education, and Channel Islands Social Services.

Contact: Brooke Lubel at 805.654.1564 x 117 for more information.

Limited interviews with Supervisor Steve Bennett or speaker Pat O Brien will be available.

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About Ventura County Human Services Agency          

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 for more information.

About You Gotta Believe!

Pat O’Brien started You Gotta Believe! 18 years ago, based on the vision that homelessness can be prevented if aging out teens had a lifetime parent and family who remained in their lives long after their years in foster care were over. With this truth close to his heart, his sole mission is to prevent homelessness by finding moral and legal adoptive parents for teens. It is the only adoption agency in the United States that limits its practice to finding permanent parents for teens, ‘tweens, and young adults before they become adults.


Event Details

  • Organizer/Sponsor: Nonprofit General
  • Starts: October 25, 2014 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
  • Price: free
  • Location: Ventura Missionary Church
  • Website: