One City, One Story: Foster Care in Pasadena

Pasadena Star News Article
“Anniversary Recalls Society’s Founding.” Pasadena Star News 12/7/1952


The 2016 One City, One Story book selection, Orphan Train, has a plot revolving around the intersecting lives of an elderly woman who came west on the orphan trains, and a teen-aged Penobscot girl, Molly, who is in foster care.

Pasadena has a rich history of foster care organizations. Five Acres has operated in Southern California continuously for 127 years, and has had offices in Pasadena and Altadena for over 100 years. There are currently several agencies in Pasadena working to care for children in crisis. Five Acres, Hillsides--in  Pasadena since 1918)–and Hathaway-Sycamores–which began in Pasadena in 1902 as the city’s first orphanage (the Pasadena Children’s Training Society)–are three of the oldest still operating in Pasadena today.

Pasadenans are civic-minded and love their community, including those youngest citizens in need of aid. All Saints Episcopal Church has a Foster Care Project providing community education, advocacy, and direct services to children in foster care, and Pasadena Community College’s STARS program supports current and former foster youth in reaching their educational goals.

Find out more by contacting these organizations, or by visiting their websites. You can also learn more about fostering youth in need by checking out resources at PPL:

Book Cover Success as a Foster Parent Success as a Foster Parent: Everything You Need to Know About Foster Care by the National Foster Parent Association with Rachel Greene Baldino

Reap the rewards of becoming a foster parent. Over 600,000 American children are in the foster care system each year, and the number is growing. So is the number of good-hearted people willing to become foster parents. But what does it take to become a foster parent? How does one begin? What about your own family? What does it cost? Success as a Foster Parent has the answers to these basic questions and much more. Written by Rachel Greene Baldino, MSW, in association with the National Foster Parent Association, it is the first and only commercially available book to clearly explain the process of becoming a foster parent. Readers will learn:

  • The questions to ask before making the decision to be a foster caregiver
  • How to research local state and private agencies
  • The financial cost and the compensation
  • The challenges involved in caring for children from infants to teens, including physically and psychologically challenged kids
  • Issues relating to schools, birth parents, supervisory visits, vacations, and dozens of other factors
  • All about adoption In addition to concrete information, there are dozens of moving stories drawn from interviews with veteran foster parents and tips about caregiving

PCC also offers community courses in Kinship/Foster Care: You register for certification courses in foster care for children who are diagnosed as emotionally or psychologically fragile, diagnosed as medically fragile, or caring for pregnant or parenting teens.

You can also learn more about the experiences of people who were children in foster care, including Victoria Rowell’s excellent memoir.

Book Cover The Women Who Raised Me

The Women Who Raised Me: A Memoir by Victoria Rowell

Born as a ward of the state of Maine, the child of an unmarried Yankee blueblood mother and an unknown black father, Victoria Rowell beat the odds. The Women Who Raised Me is the remarkable story of her rise out of the foster care system to attain the American Dream—and of the unlikely series of women who lifted, motivated, and inspired her along the way.

From Agatha Armstead—a black Bostonian who was Victoria’s longest-term foster mother and first noticed her spark of creativity and talent—to Esther Brooks, a Paris-trained prima ballerina who would become her first mentor at the Cambridge School of Ballet—The Women Who Raised Me is a loving, vivid portrait of all the women who would help Victoria transition out of foster care and into New York City’s wild worlds of ballet, acting, and adulthood. Though Victoria would go on to become an accomplished television and film star, she still carried the burden of loneliness and anxiety, particularly common to those “orphans of the living” who are never adopted. Vividly recalled and candidly told, her story is transfixing, redemptive, heartbreaking, and, ultimately, inspiring.

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