Below is our recent interview with Richard Villasana, Founder at Forever Homes for Foster Kids:
Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to your company?
A: Forever Homes for Foster Kids, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, believes all foster children deserve to live happy, healthy lives in a permanent home. By identifying and locating family members, we are the catalyst to creating stronger families and communities. For nearly 30 years, our nonprofit has specialized in performing family finding for U.S. foster care agencies seeking to locate the biological relatives of foster children. Family Finding is the process of identifying, locating and notifying adult family members. This ensures that, where possible, each foster child has at the very least a connection with their blood relatives. In the best of cases, relatives are found who will take in the child and give him/her a permanent, stable home.
Q: Any highlights on your recent announcement?
A: Because of our success in assisting the U.S. government’s effort in reuniting immigrant children with their families this past year, the attention garnered to date has given us the much-needed recognition of our unique expertise. We are moving aggressively to expand our proficiency to more countries in South America such as Peru and Ecuador.
Q: Can you give us more insights into your offering?
A: Our nonprofit provides its international services pro bono to government agencies and foster care nonprofits. As an organization committed to reuniting children with their families, we decided to take the cost of our services off the table. In doing so, we have removed a serious obstacle to agencies using our services. It’s important for people to understand that we only get a call when there’s an emergency just as people don’t call the fire department simply to ask questions while there’s a fire in progress. When a foster care agency decides not to work with us, it most likely means that they plan to take no further action to reunite that particular foster child with their family. Allowing a child to age out of foster care is a terrible outcome because roughly 80% will become homeless, a sex trafficking victim or end up in prison. Our mission is for every foster child we serve to have a forever family.
Q: What can we expect from your company in next 6 months? What are your plans?
A: We were extremely busy in 2021 reuniting many of the thousands of parents from Central America who were separated from their children at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2017 and 2018. Our goal is to complete the remaining cases in the first quarter of 2022. Our work with immigrant families now places us in the leadership role. Our goal is to help county and state foster care agencies that are struggling to provide family finding services to an increasing number of children from Central and South America. Assimilating new technology will continue to be a critical operational strategy as it has allowed us to free up hours of time and improve internal communication. We are presently in negotiations to provide our specialized services to a large nonprofit in Texas. Doing so will allow us to reunite more than 100 children with their families this year. We are also strategizing on best practices to bring in corporate sponsors to support our increasing workload.
Q: What is the best thing about your company that people might not know about?
A: Our nonprofit is known for reuniting U.S. foster children with their families. Most people do not know that we specialize in locating those foster child’s relatives who are still living in Latin America. For nearly 30 years, Forever Homes for Foster Kids has been locating grandparents, aunts, cousins and even absent parents throughout Latin America including the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Argentina and Brazil. We have also reunited more than 300 immigrant families. We are one of only three U.S.-based organizations working to reunite the thousands of families that were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2017 and 2018. These separations were a horrible event for those families, especially the children. We are honored that through our work, many of these children are now able to be reconnected with their parents. Our work has been featured on ABC, CNN International, Univision, AP News and Washington Post.