Angels Foster Family Network
What they do
Angels Foster Family Network is a nonprofit organization providing safe, stable, loving homes for infants and toddlers 5 years old and younger in foster care throughout San Diego County. They train families to give vulnerable children the care and stability they need at a critical developmental age. Angels Foster Family Network works with the San Diego County Department of Child Welfare Services and is licensed by the State of California as a Foster Family Agency (FFA). Being an independent and singularly focused organization, however, allows them to do things differently from traditional foster care.
What they stand for
At Angels Foster Family Network, children’s wellbeing is prioritized in every way. Founder Cathy Richman realized during her years volunteering as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) that children were best served when they were placed with one family until they were reunified with their birth family or adopted. Cognitive research supports this—infants and toddlers need time to form attachments to adults, which is hard to do when moving from family to family.
Every Angels foster family commits to the stable care of the child placed with them until otherwise determined by the county or the juvenile court. Plus, each family cares for only one child or sibling set at a time in order to give infants and toddlers in foster care the focused time and attention they need and deserve.
Additionally, as their name states, Angels Foster Family Network provides robust and ongoing support for families to be the best possible parents who foster. The family commitment to fully support young children, often with developmental delays, is a serious undertaking. Angels runs rigorous but caring training and home visits for 6 to 9 months before children are placed in a new family’s care.
Why we invested
There are 1,956 children in foster care in San Diego County according to 2018 data, with nearly half of them under 5 years old. The job of placing these children in safe homes while their birth parent(s) address the issues that caused them to lose custody is shared across several agencies, including Angels Foster Family Network.
Angels’ relentless focus on children’s wellbeing is the best for creating positive outcomes, but it makes a challenging business model for the nonprofit. The recruitment and rigorous preparation they do costs the agency about $15k per family (and 6 to 9 months) upfront. Their revenue comes months later as reimbursements for each day that a child is in their network’s care. Angels Foster Family Network fully recoups their training costs after a family has been caring for a child a little over a year. Their existing balance sheet and donor base allowed them to weather fluctuations in cash flow, but recent regulatory changes to ensure the best care for children required Angels to create a new department of three staff members to perform mandatory home studies.
They turned to Mission Driven Finance to help get over this one-time hurdle and expand their quality case management and related services with additional revenue streams. We saw an opportunity to partner with our colleagues at United Way of San Diego County and provide a loan and a path forward for Angels.
Excited by the alignment with their family stability programs and the opportunity to use impact investing as another tool for change, United Way supplied the capital for this loan.
Both Mission Driven Finance and United Way of San Diego County saw that Angels Foster Family Network is a rock star organization in that:
- Many of the team members have have provided youth with stable foster homes before coming on staff
- Families commit to care until courts decide otherwise
- Children don’t leave until there’s a permanent home
- Customer retention and satisfaction rates are in the 90s
- They are singularly focused on early childhood foster care
- Impact SegmentEarly childhood development
- Impact VehicleAdvance
- Investment Details$250,000 loan made in December 2019
- Impact GeographySan Diego County
- LeadershipJeff Wiemann, Executive Director
- Year Founded1998