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Guardians of Love offers foster care, adoptions

Juliana D. Norwood | 3/7/2012, 5 p.m.

Since 1997, Guardians of Love Foster Family Agency Inc. says it has been providing services to children in need of foster family home placement as well as safe, nurturing, therapeutic certified family homes where children can receive protection from abuse, maltreatment, economic exploitation, malnutrition and /or any form of unsafe environment.
Guardians of Love provides a comprehensive range of support service to the children, youth, parents and certified foster parents in an effort to prevent the need for multiple placements/replacements and to bring about reunification with biological families, adoption or emancipation.
"Guardians of Love Adoption Agency focuses on finding permanent homes for court-dependent children who are not able to be reunified with their birth parents, family or relatives by law. Permanency is paramount to children's success, especially since they have experienced trauma and the loss of their birth families," said Kinikki Fullerwood an administrator at the organization.
Guardians of Love Adoption Agency offers pre- and post-adoption services and works individually with families to ensure that each child is adopted by a family who can truly meet their lifelong needs. The agency specifically focuses on children who are in the foster care system who are, or may become, available for adoption.
In collaboration with the Southern California Foster Care Mentoring Network, Guardians of Love participates in a regional program to enhance services to families and address the needs that exist in underserved communities. On an annual basis, the network services more than 10,000 children located in the southern region of California.
Guardians of Love match caring and responsible mentors with children and youth ages 4-17 living in out-of-home care throughout Los Angeles County.
"The mentors do things like one-on-one outings such as going to the beach, playing sports, going to museums, and just hanging out. All activities are designed by you and your mentee and are intended to be both fun and educational. In addition, matches are also invited to attend fun group activities and events throughout the year such as Dodger Day, and trips to Los Angeles museums," said Fullerwood.
Mentors spend 8-10 hours per month with their mentees generally on weekends and weekday evenings for a minimum of one year.
Fullerwood also believes that the strong and healthy bond that mentors and mentees will develop helps to increase the young person's self-esteem, social skills and emotional development.
All mentors complete training prior to being matched with a child and are required to spend the first three months of the match in a supervised setting. These supervised visits are often fun group activities such as a bowling day or game night where a group of new mentors and mentees can come together to get to know one another and have fun.
Additional requirements for mentors are they need to be 21 years or older, must be able to clear a criminal background check and child-abuse index clearance, submit DMV driving history for approval, have a valid California driver license and reliable transportation with valid auto insurance and registration.
Guardians of Love provides a service to area residents and depends heavily on outside funding, specifically donations from members of the community. To donate, or to learn more information about the organization, contact Kinikki Fullerwood at (323) 295-6030 or visit the organization's website at www.guardiansoflove.org.