Angels for Foster Kids Margaret Iuculano Offers ‘A City without Orphans’
Margaret Iuculano fills a need for bigger and better foster kids programs in the Tampa community.
Interview by Victoria lynn Weston
Margaret Iuculano hasn’t had an easy time as Founder and President of Angels for Foster Kids. Recently she received a phone call late one evening to help Marcus, a foster teenager who had aged out of foster care and found himself homeless. “He was found sleeping in someone’s backyard on the grass – I went to assist him and find him a place to live,” says Margaret.
“Unfortunately, if foster kids are not guided and mentored by their foster parents, they are just not capable of getting a job much less finding a place to live.”
Margaret Iuculano wants to find more nurturing foster parents. Today, she is actively involved with the National Christian Alliance for Orphans: Working together, our joint initiatives inspire, equip and connect Christians to “defend the fatherless” (Isaiah 1:17). “I realized that Florida was one of the few states that was not part of the alliance, and sadly there is no effort being made toward a City without Orphans. So, Angels for Foster Kids is a connection and the foundation to pick that alliance up.”
Orphan care has long been associated with adoption, yet today more Christians are feeling “a call” to foster children from the local community. And the need is great: according to a federal report on the foster care system, an estimated 408,425 children were in foster care in 2010. The majority of these children enter foster care because of neglect and abuse.
A City without Orphans strives to provide quality foster care homes and not simply remove a child from one trouble home environment into another. “We will provide extensive training to parents who are able to provide a loving family environment to a foster child, who more than anything is looking to be loved.”
As a speaker, Margaret Iuculano speaks before groups representing more than 200 different churches, “the churches work toward their shared interest of a City without Orphans, and one of our goals is to flood the system with quality foster care. We don’t want a situation where we don’t have a quality home to place a foster child.”
Margaret details her vision for a quality foster home and cites foster parent Congresswoman Michele Bachman as an example. “Visualize a troubled child leaving a troubled environment and they get to go live with a Michele Bachman. They are exposed to her lifestyle and a different way of living. If that foster child goes back to their own home, they’ve been exposed to another lifestyle and as they get older, they realize there are choices in life.”
A former foster child herself, Margaret speaks from experience. “I didn’t have many quality foster parents but those that were, made huge impact on me and I was able to draw on those positive experiences to make better choices.”
No matter where I go, I’m talking about foster kids & raising awareness. We are looking for people to join our board now who represent churches wanting to be part of this alliance.
Where and how do people qualify to become foster parents? “People usually come to me as a resource and I guide them through the process and agency relationships to either become foster parents or to adopt. Since they are referred from a Christian church, I can align them up with training and a licensing program which everyone has to go through to qualify to become a foster or adoptive parent,” says Margaret.
Despite the foster care challenges that often comes with heartache – feeling desperate not being able to do more – Margaret is proud of Angels for Foster Kids’ and the success of their DreamMakers Program. “In 2012, we had an amazing year. We raised over $100,000 in donations, clothing and bicycles. Our charity is a great investment – for every $1 donated we receive $10 in clothes, toys and tangible goods from KIDS in Distressed Situations.”
“Everywhere I go, I bring up foster care, it’s not a popular topic as most people don’t think about foster children and my mission is trying to change all that.” At 11 years old, Margaret Iuculano was placed in foster care and aged out of the system at 16 years old, an early lesson that compels her to do what it takes, even when it’s not popular, for the greater good of the children.
If you would like to learn more and donate to support Angels for Foster Kids and their programs; DreamMakers and City without Orphans visit: www.AngelsforFosterKids.com
As Founder and Acting Executive Director for Angels for Foster Kids, Margaret Iuculano has leveraged her business acumen and strategic partnership building skills to develop a successful non-profit organization from the ground up. She has established the operating infrastructure, raised seed and operating capital, and created public awareness through extensive public speaking and authorship of My God Box, a book spotlighting foster care issues from which all proceeds accrue to the organization. [read more]