Empowerment Village FAQ
1. Are you familiar with “Inspire” Life Skills Program?
1. Yes, we are familiar
2. Do you want to have an education component in the new program?
2. Yes, we plan on including education and parenting classes
3. Where did all of the kids get placed after they were taken from Rancho Damacitas?
3. We do not know. The kids were assigned to other group homes. The challenges is more and more of those are closing for the same reasons we are discontinuing our youth residential foster care program.
4. How will Rancho Damacitas divide up donations from Project Independence and the new program?
4. These are separate programs and will have separate funding streams. Funding design ated for Project Independence are considered restricted funds and can only be used for the intended purpose. Funds given to Rancho Damacitas’ general funds will be used to support the new Empowerment Village program, helping young moms and their children.
5. Are the homes owned and by whom?
5. All of the homes are owned by Rancho Damacitas, a 501 (c) (3) non – profit corporation.
6. How much do you believe your monthly or yearly expense will be?
6. The Board just decided to move in this direction. The details, including budget, are in development. We should have something ready in the next few weeks, that has the specifics of the program, including a comprehensive operations budget.
7. Will there be age limits on the mothers that can participate in the program as well as age limits for their children?
7. We are looking for mothers 18 and older that want a bet ter life for their children and for themselves. We have not yet worked out age limits for either the mothers or their children.
8. Are you still supporting the 18 – to 25 year olds?
8. Yes, the residents in our Project Independence and scholarship program s are still active and making great progress.
9. Would the mothers receive government funding for the children through the state?
9. The intent is that these mothers would be working. T he program details, eligibility and terms have not yet been determined, we do not know this answer for sure.
10. When is this new focus on mothers and children slated to begin? Is Rancho Damacitas going to accept people immediately or will there be some down time to restructure?
10. We are hoping to have the new program, Empowerment Village , up and running after the first of the year, sometime in January/early February.
11. Do you have an organization/group home in mind that you want to model? Maybe in another city or someone that you have seen that is successful?
11. We do not have any one program we want to model. We will look at several successful ones that we are aware of, but the program will be tailored for our area and our region.
12. Does Rancho Damacitas still have its state license.
12. Rancho Damacitas still has a few children placed in family foster care homes. These homes are separate from the group home at the Rancho Damacitas campus. We are in the process of closing those operations down, and once complete we will surrender our license.
13. Who pays your staff?
13. We will pay our staff through our donations such as fou ndation grants .
14. What are the eligibility requi rements for the new residents (Moms and children)? Drug testing? Birth control?
14. The program details, eligibility and terms have not yet been determined. We can tell you that the requirements will be very stringent, like our Project Independence program and there is a low tolerance for misconduct. Birth control i s a nother whole other legal issue.
15. What is the length of the “Mom & Tot” program? Do moms “age” out? Do children age out and then mom and children need to leave?
15. The program details, eligibility and terms have not yet been determined. We can tell you that the requirements will be very stringent, like our Project Independence program and there is a low tolerance for misconduct. Age restrictions, for mom and f or children have not been determined.
16. Are these moms/kids local to Temecula? If not, Inland Empire?
16. The program details, eligibility and terms have not yet been determined. Where our moms come from has not yet been determined, but our intent is to start local.
17. As a close neighbor to Rancho Damacitas, will I have to worry about estranged baby’s dads showing and a wrecking terror/harassing?
17. That is a great question. We will have very st rict visitation policies. If there is misconduct, the mother and children will be terminated from the program.
18. When will these m oms/tots move in? December? January?
18. We are hoping to have the new program, Empowerment Village up and running after the first of the year, sometime in January/February.
19. How many women in each home?
19. The number of mothers and children in each home has not yet been determined.
20. Are the moms on welfare and do you take their money?
20. The intent is that these mothers would be working. The program details, eligibility and terms have not yet been determined. We would not “take” their money but they may hav e a financial contribution as they move towards independence.
21. Please explain, again, what legislative changes were made to the foster care system and when.
21. On October 11, 2015 Governor Brown signed into the law the Continuum of Care Act. T hat comprehensively reformed placement and treatment options for youth in foster care. This piece of legislation was known as the Continuum of Care Reform Act. It changed Foster Care in California forever. The focus of the legislation was to move all foster care children to a foster family environment, and for those most difficult to place, find temporary housing. Prior to this legislation, programs like Rancho Damacitas were available to help kids and youth find stability, access education and move to adulthood successfully. This legislation extremely limits how programs like Rancho Damacitas operate . The law w ent into effect on January 1, 2017, once the state had a chance to write and adopt the regulations that would support the new law. For the first few months of this year, little changed and we were optimistic that we could navigate the changes successfully . Once, however, youth that were not appropriate for our program were placed with us, and the process for removing them was ineffective, we realized we could not be successful in this changed environment.
22. Have you spoken to any policy makers to amend the statutes?
22. Yes, we have spoken to our local elected officials as well as with other foster care advocacy groups. Change is possible, but it will take a very long time to pursue the necessary changes we need. As a 501 © (3) the amount of time we can devote to advocacy is extremely limited without jeopardizing our non – profit status.
23. How are you going to implement this new program?
23. The program details, eligibility and terms have not yet been determined.
24. How many moms and babies will you be able to help?
24. The number of moms and children will be dependent on the amount of money we can raise; there will be no state subsidy for this program. We will need to develop a budget and then realistically access how many we can serve.
25 . How are you going to care for the families and achieve your goals?
25. Empowerment Village is right in line with our mission and in many ways, enables us to go back to our roots and integrate volunteering, mentoring and other elements with the community that our state funded foster care residential program eliminated.
26 . Please talk about the Honor Homes. We were told most come in when they are 20+ not 18. You are a 501(c) (3) nonprofit.
26. For our Project Independence program, p articipants must be over 18. Most of these individuals have been over 20, when they are ready to do the work and have a better life. Our Project Independence Homes are not impacted by this change at Rancho Damacitas. Yes, we are a 501 © (3) nonprofit.
27. What qualification will the mothers have?
27. The program details, eligibility and terms have not yet been determined.
28. How can clinician from Encourages Christian Counseling support Rancho Damacitas in the new avenue?
28. Since this program is not a state – funded program, we will have the flexibility to once again work with other community organizations to offer a variety of support services. These community groups include churches and other religious groups. We are very excited about that. Once we have the details of the program worked out, we will be reaching out.
29. Will you accept a “Neighborhood” Advisor to the Board; a non – official advisor to serve as a liaison with the neighborhoods surrounding?
29. Yes! We are always looking for new Board Members. We will be putting a Board Application on the website soon. Please complete one if you are interested in serving on the Board.
30. It sees the State of California has failed our youth and have interests that are not best for foster kids. What could private citizens do to h old he sate accountable for their failed system?
30. The best way to make policy changes is to have your voice heard. That means meeting, calling and writing your elected officials and telling them how you feel.
31. What can the community do to support Rancho Damacitas right now?
31. So many of you have reached out and we are grateful. It was a very difficult decision to cease a program that we had operated for 35 years and quite frankly, it worked and worked well until recent ly. We are still here, we still have other programs and we still need your support. We are looking forward to working out the details for Empowerment Village and we are going to need your insight, your suggestions and your support.
32. Was the recent criminal activities the straw that broke the camel’s back? i.e. decided to shut down the campus
32. Partly, yes. Whe n the rules changed, Rancho Damacitas was considered a short term holding spot, not an alternative to foster care family. We were no longer able to offer programs that helped kids and we had kids forced on us that did not belong with us.
33. Does Rancho Damacitas still hold their state license and their 501(c)(3) status?
33. Rancho Damaci tas still has a few children placed in family foster care homes. These homes are separate from the group home at the Rancho Damacitas campus. We are in the process of closing those operations down, and once complete we will surrender our license. We are a 501(c)(3) and will continue to be.
34. If no more state funding, does this mean you are private?
34. We have always been a private, a 501(c)(3) corporation that accepted state funding. We will no longer be accepting state funding.
35. What agency will determine what girls and children will be placed at Rancho Damacitas and will individuals with criminal records ever be placed at Rancho Damacitas?
35. This will be a private program. Rancho Damacitas will determine program eligibility. The program details, eligibility and terms have not yet been determined.
36. Will there be security for the facility and neighborhood?
36. Now that we will no longer accept state funding, we can secure our campus. At this time, with moms and children, we do not anticipate the need for security.