Free services in education, transportation, recreation and other areas of care-giving will soon be available to those raising relatives' children through the Children's Bureau of Southern California.
According to the bureau, the number of children placed with relatives, usually grandparents, represents 38% of the foster-care population in Orange County.
The agency, which provides prevention and other kinds of professional treatment to abused and neglected youngsters and their families throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties, will start the planning stage of its Kinship Care Program on Thursday. The bureau, with its Orange County headquarters in Anaheim, received $300,000 in state and federal grants to start the program.
Families and Communities Together, a collaboration of more than 60 community-based organizations and the county's Social Services Agency, will administer the Kinship Care Program.
The agency will hold its first meeting for the program at 1 p.m. Thursday at the South Orange County Family Resource Center, Suite 19, 28191 Marguerite Parkway, Mission Viejo. The bureau is asking for volunteers, especially those who have cared or are caring for children of relatives, to participate in this and future meetings to be held in Tustin, Huntington Beach and Santa Ana.
"They really are in need of people's voices," spokeswoman Susan Wirth said. "If people can't make the meetings . . . they could call in and give us information about their experiences."
Information: Carol Rischer, (714) 517-1900, Ext. 204.