2011-03-11 / Health & Wellness

Federal head of foster care visits Casa Pacifica


FOR CHILDREN—Bryan Samuels, second from left, federal commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Health and Human Services, recently toured Casa Pacifica, a Camarillo-based shelter for physically and emotionally abused children. Joining Samuels are Casa Pacifica youth advocates, from left, Cristina Miranda, Raquel Montes and Tyrone Blackman. FOR CHILDREN—Bryan Samuels, second from left, federal commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Health and Human Services, recently toured Casa Pacifica, a Camarillo-based shelter for physically and emotionally abused children. Joining Samuels are Casa Pacifica youth advocates, from left, Cristina Miranda, Raquel Montes and Tyrone Blackman. Bryan Samuels, President Obama’s appointee as commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, visited the Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families in February.

Samuels was in California to serve as the keynote speaker at the Alliance for Children and Families’ annual conference in Napa.

Samuels was invited to the agency by the Casa Pacifica director of development and operations, Vicki Murphy. Murphy met Samuels when she was part of a panel last October and visited him in Washington, D.C., to discuss national policy on the issue of foster care.

Samuels met with representatives of Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties during his visit, discussing trends in foster care at the federal level and answering questions in an open dialogue. Obama’s 2012 budget increases funding for child welfare, but Samuels has the task of convincing Congress to pass that increase.

Casa Pacifica’s three youth advocates, each a former foster youth, met privately with Samuels to discuss their experiences in foster care and their impressions of policies that are working and what could be improved for transitioning and emancipated foster youth. Samuels gave advice to the youths as to the focus of their future efforts.

Samuels grew up in a residential school for disadvantaged children, an experience which shaped his commitment to serve children in foster care.

Casa Pacifica is a crisis-care and residential treatment facility for abused, neglected or at-risk children in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. For more information, visit www.casapacifica.org or call the development department at (805) 445-7800.

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