Every hour 50 kids enter foster care in the United States. Foster parenting is challenging and emotionally taxing. A large majority of new foster parents quit within the first two years due to feeling overwhelmed and unprepared for parenting children from a traumatic background. This has caused a severe shortage of foster parents in Colorado, leaving vulnerable children without the stable home environment they need.
Children in foster care need more than love. They need to learn skills and resources to heal from trauma. These skills are provided by foster parents who are nurtured with the capability to foster better and foster longer. Our training classes are all taught from a trauma-informed approach, helping foster parents learn new skills in order to meet children where they are, to begin to start the healing process in their vulnerable hearts. Our classes are free for foster parents and include free childcare, giving foster parents two hours of respite and children in care 2 hours to spend with other children in care. Our resources and services help make the foster parenting experience softer, leading children to experience appropriate family experiences with trust and comfort.
92% of our families report that they feel confident to care for vulnerable children longer than they anticipated thanks to our services.
Our mission is to provide relevant training, resources and support to foster parents from a trauma-informed approach, giving them the skills and confidence to spark healing in vulnerable children.
Inspiring lasting healing in vulnerable children through confident, compassionate foster parents.
For 3 years, Foster Source founders Renee and Brian Bernhard flourished as dedicated foster parents in Adams County. As their experience grew, Renee and Brian wholly committed to creating better lives for 10 foster children and adopting a beautiful son. They realized then that today, more is expected, demanded, desired, and needed from foster parents – way beyond what the county could assist with. The Bernhards began diligently chartering their own path, a path for foster kids with foster parents in mind – a path that others would use as a resource to thrive in their own wonderful, hard, beautiful, exhausting, productive, amazing foster experiences. The Bernhards started from the ground up with action and hard work – hosting a support group for fellow foster parents out of their home, serving on the Foster Parent Advisory Committee for the county, acting as a liaison between foster parents and the county regarding issues of concern. When they decided to close their home to future foster care placements, they knew they still had a charge to fight for foster parents – for foster children. For our communities. Our future. This is not about foster parents ‘having it all.’ This is about self-determination. This is our fight, our dream: A foster family’s right to participate to their fullest. To give their best. To actively build futures.
Running, Yoga, Reminiscing.
Renee is a former foster parent, a Foster Parent of the Year award recipient for Adams County, and a mother of three. A native of Colorado, Renee spent her early career working in emergency services at the US Consulate in Frankfurt, Germany. Since returning to the US, Renee has been a stay at home mom while raising her children and is a very active volunteer for her county’s Human Services department. Within hours of becoming certified to be foster parents, Renee and Brian received their first placement, a baby boy they would adopt exactly 2 years later.
Crossfit, Community Theater, Legal Mgmt Associations.
Brian is a former foster parent and Foster Parent of the Year award recipient for Adams County. He has dedicated his career to the field of immigration. In addition to having worked for the government, he has also spent the last 15 years managing immigration law firms. Brian is passionate about foster care and providing the children in foster care resources they need, particularly those aging out of the system. Brian is a parent to three children, one of whom was adopted out of foster care. He’s a very active member of his church and associations focused on legal management.
Travel, Gardening, Photography.
Maria Avila is a caseworker in Foster Care and Kinship Certification and Support at Adams County Human Services Department (ACHSD). She has 20 years of experience working with families that provide care for children in out-of-home placements. Maria has a BA in psycology, a BS in international marketing and a MSW. Maria is also a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) in the State of Colorado. Maria is a married mother of two children. Maria and her husband were foster parents with Boulder County for two years, and they were foster parents for their daughter whom they adopted in 2006. Maria volunteered as a team treasurer for the Broomfield Soccer Club for 4 years and she currently is volunteering as the team manager for the Broomfield High School boys’ varsity program.
Traveling, Reading, Karaoke.
Kim grew up living in various countries throughout the world including Spain, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong (China), UAE, South Korea, and the United States. She speaks four languages: English, Spanish, French, and Korean. With 20 years experience in the field of education and technology, her primary professional interests are in the use of technology in both education and performance improvement. She is a former foster parent for Adams County. She lives with her family in Gilbert, Arizona where she spends her days running the world for the six little people in her home, four of whom were adopted (two through foster care).
Foster Source NorthHobbies:
Reading, Scrapbooking, Exploring.
Kristin Mann loves school and has Masters degrees in the areas of Special Education and Reading. She has been a teacher for 18 years, teaching everything from kindergarten to residential treatment and is currently working as a Special Education teacher in Greeley. Kristin and her husband Russ have three children, are current foster parents in Weld County and are adopting the first child placed in their home. Open for placements, they are waiting for one more child to complete their family. Kristin has volunteered for DFS on the CPT team and looks forward to continuing to expand Foster Source’s services in Northern Colorado.
Strategy & VisionAl is a third generation Coloradan. For over 20 years Al has served on numerous public and private company boards as well as non-profit organizations, many providing social services to families. His current passion is being involved with organizations poised to move to the next level. He is a guest lecturer for MBA classes at several universities and has long served in several community and national nonprofit organizational leadership positions.He is a past operating executive and CFO for large corporations. Al has a wife of over 47 years, two grown children, and four grandkids.
Running, Archery, Playing in the Mountains.
Nate Wangerin is a Colorado native. He married his high school sweetheart and has three fun, active children. He loves the outdoors and everything that Colorado has to offer. He has partnered with non-profit organizations in many different ways over the past 15 years and has a passion for fostering engagement in the community and bringing people together. He works as a financial consultant for Thrivent Financial helping families, individuals, and small businesses be wise with money and live generously. He co-founded the 5280 Associates, a financial advisory practice, in 2010 and serves the greater Denver-Metro area. His most enjoyable moments are those he gets to spend with his family and he strives to ensure that others get to feel that same love and enjoyment.
Traveling, Yoga, Ultimate Frisbee.
Moriah is an intern for Foster Source. She is currently an intake caseworker at Arapahoe County Department of Human Services and attending school for her Masters of Social Work at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Moriah has worked in child welfare for two years and has five years of social work experience. She completed her Bachelors in Family and Child Sciences at Florida State University with a minor in Psychology and Developmental Disabilities. Moriah grew up living on a boat in Miami, FL. She moved to Colorado with her husband after graduating college in order to be closer to extended family and take advantage of the mountains. Moriah enjoys being outside, traveling, skiing, and taking her dog for hikes.
Volleyball, Board Games, Traveling.
Zachary is an intern for Foster Source and is currently attending Colorado State University for his Masters in Social Work. He works as a therapeutic instructor for children at SPECTRA Centers Inc. Zachary has been working in the world of human services for seven years since graduating with his Bachelors in Child and Adolescent Development from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He moved to Denver with his partner four years ago and enjoys being active.