Foster Families Connect Through Refurbished Computers

For foster parent Rita Allen, a joint effort between the San Diego County Health and Human Service Agency (HHSA) and the San Diego County Futures Foundation (SDFF) means fewer trips to the library to use the public computers for her and her foster children.Allen and her family were one of 150 foster families to receive a new-to-them refurbished County computer this week thanks to a program started in 2001 by San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox. She had three foster siblings and still has two of them at home, although one is ready to go off to college.

“This is such a great program,” said Allen. “This really helps the children with their homework and it even helps with things like Mapquest and getting from Point A to Point B.”

Allen said she also received a computer from the County about 10 years ago.

“Back then, I didn’t know a lot about computers and there we some many issues with viruses and things like that and I just sort of gave up and we would constantly be going to the library to use the computers there instead.”

Merri Robison was also there to pick up a refurbished computer for her foster children.

“This is a computer that will be designated for the foster children in our home,” she said. “It allows us to have a computer that we can use and a computer especially for the children that we can set up all the proper safeguards on that they can access and use for school work.

“It’s just a wonderful service to the kids.”

The Futures Foundation refurbishes old County computers as they are replaced, and installs an operating system and applications that are best suited for home use.

“Foster youth are like any other school-age children,” said Cox. “They have reports and homework for school and eventually job and college applications to fill out and these days, a computer and Internet access is critical for completing those tasks.”

“By refurbishing these computers and offering them to foster families, we are making an investment in the future of our foster youth,” said Nick Macchione, HHSA director. “This program increases foster youth’s access to educational opportunities and community resources and is an example of putting our “Live Well, San Diego!” initiative into action.”

SDFF is a non-profit organization established in 1999 to improve lives in San Diego through technology. The Foundation provides equipment, software, training, services and tech support to San Diego non-profits, small businesses and disadvantaged residents.

Tom Christensen is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact