A Letter from the President
Welcome to the Alameda County Foster Parent Association, Chapter 1.
On behalf of the ACFPA Board members we are excited to welcome you to our Association. We are a Subordinate Chapter of the California State Foster Parent Association. Our Mission is to promote consistent, safe, quality care for children of our county by providing support and advocacy to Foster and Adoptive families, relative and non-relative caregivers.
As a member you will enjoy many benefits including free training programs (required for your license), opportunities to network with other foster parents and relatives, members-only events, scholarships and retail donations.
Please join us for our monthly association meetings on the 4th Monday of each month at 6:00 PM. The meetings are at the First Presbyterian Church of Hayward located at: 2490 Grove Way, Castro Valley, CA 94546. Join us in the multipurpose room of the church gymnasium. Parking is located in the main parking lot and childcare provided for children 12 years old and under next to the church office.
Again, Welcome! Please don’t hesitate to contact us if we can be of assistance. You can reach us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gwen McWilliams, ACFPA President
Gwen Evans-McWilliams is the mother of six children, three via adoption, and has 5 grandchildren. Gwen and Husband Robin have been Resource Parents for over 27 years. Mrs. McWilliams is on the Advisory Board of Children’s Hospital’s Center for the Vulnerable Child clinic in Oakland. Additionally, she is a Professional Specialist at the Chabot College Foster Kinship Care Education Program, where she provides training to new, current and incumbent Resource Parents and kinship caregivers in their pre-service RFA (Resource Family Approval) curriculum for Alameda County’s Department of Children and Family Services.
First Vice President
Christina Pedraza grew up with a younger brother in Massachusetts and much of her time growing up was spent playing sports and being an active member in her church. Christina joined the Navy in 1993 and spent her early twenties on board USS Cape Cod and traveled to several countries and served during the Gulf War. Christina and her wife Hannah have been together since 2010 and married since 2014. They became foster parents in 2013 and have so far fostered over 20 children and adopted 4 through the foster care system. Christina is currently a stay at home mom with 9 children and leads an active life volunteering at Oakland Children’s Hospital, Center for Vulnerable Children (CAB) (2014), First Baptist Head Start (Parliamentarian) LPC Board (2018), Alameda County Foster Parent Association as former Recording Secretary (2015), Training Coordinator and Social Media Developer. When not volunteering Christina is active playing softball with San Francisco Gay Softball League, Alameda Women’s Softball League, Concord & Antioch Women’s League. With 9 kids Christina and Hannah have them participate in numerous activities such as basketball, soccer, dance and gymnastics. As a family they love camping, traveling, going to zoo and the movies.
Second Vice President
Anita Peters has been married to her loving husband Steven for 40 years. Together they have raised 4 children; 2 biological and 2 by way of adoption, and have been foster resource parents for over 7 years. The Peters have opened their home to over 20 foster children over the years, but Anita’s particular passion is in caring for medically fragile infants and toddlers. Her career in leadership has spanned technology, food services, and real estate respectively. After taking a hiatus from real estate in order to focus on becoming a foster parent, she has returned as an agent to Keller Williams Real Estate. Anita is honored to serve as the President of the Community Action Outreach for Infants (CARI) program and the Second Vice President of Alameda County Foster Parent Association.
Liz Jobst is a stay-at-home foster mom. She and her partner John live with their eight year old son, four year old boy/ girl twins, and rescue dog in Piedmont. They have been foster parents to several infants since 2016 and adopted the twins in 2019. Liz has a B.A. in English and Religious Studies, and a M.Ed. with a focus on early childhood education. She started her professional career as a Kindergarten teacher and then worked in family ministry. Liz is passionate about kids and families and looks forward to connecting with you at the next association meeting.
Treasurer and Website Content and Design
Torfeh Rejali has a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and is a licensed Marriage, Family Therapist. She has worked for over 20 years in the behavioral health field, serving in multiple leadership roles. As a Clinical Operations Director at UnitedHealth Group, she provides oversight of multiple teams and programs. She has a certificate in non-profit management and she and her husband, Greg, are licensed foster parents. She is passionate about the mission of ACFPA and is honored to have the opportunity to serve the foster parents and children of Alameda County. In addition to serving as Treasurer, Torfeh is also responsible for the ACFPA website design and content and is the Chair of the Scholarship Committee.
Sheila Bracey along with her husband Charles, has been a foster/adopt parent since 2009. They were blessed to adopt a baby girl who is currently seven years old and the joy of their lives. Sheila is the membership chair for the ACFPA and enjoys helping to bring people together for a common cause. When possible, her goal and motto is to, “Do what you love, and love what you do!”
Fundraising and Donation Chair
Joyce Ryder has cared for over 40 children in the 20 plus years she has been a foster parent. In 2007 she adopted one of her special needs babies at 3 years old. She is caretaker to her husband of almost 50 years and also has 3 adult children and 2 granddaughters. After 34 years she retired from a local Hospital Business office in 2012 and now devotes her time to fundraising and her passion of procuring donations for ACFPA clothing closet she established in 2015. She helped organize many ACFPA Christmas Parties and Back to School Picnics for children in care. She spends what spare time she has writing grants for both ACFPA and Exceptional Needs Network where her daughter attends camp every year. She currently holds the position of Fundraising/Donation Chairperson and was past Recording Secretary in 2013. She will relocate to Monterey County in 2020 but hopes to maintain her RFA license and work online for ACFPA.
Fundraising and Donation Co-Chair
Rendy Orlando and her husband Donald are parents to 10 adopted children, including 7 former foster children from the same family. When their foster children showed up to the house with the clothes on their backs and not much else, Rendy and her husband decided to dedicate their volunteerism to supporting adopted and foster children in need. As the Fundraising and Donations Co-chair, Rendy spends a lot of time networking on behalf of the Association and manages the Clothing Closet. She and her family are passionate about volunteering and were selected as finalists for Disney and Points of Light Volunteer Family of the Year.
Charles E. Bracey has been married to his lovely wife, Sheila for 13 years. They have three children, one via adoption and have been foster resource parents for four years. Charles is a U.S. Army, Gulf War Veteran, the former pastor of Crossroads Christian Center, and is currently employed by the YMCA of San Francisco. He proudly services his local community by volunteering with the ACFPA. Charles also works with Chabot College as a Regional Foster Parent Pride Trainer for the Foster Kinship Care Education Program (FKCE), where he serves as Professional Specialist for the Chabot/Las Positas Community College. Charles has been so impacted by his work within the ACFPA that his motto is: “I see Children.” He is very passionate about his service to the ACFPA, the children, and families they serve.
Scarlett Grace Payne is a devoted wife to her husband, Eric Payne, of 27 years. They have 3 outstanding adult children, a beautiful daughter-in-love, and one incredible granddaughter. She studied through Berean School of the Bible and completed their Ministerial Studies program and
is currently a licensed minister through the Assembly of God. She loves to serve her community in various ways and has served as an Assimilations Pastor and Women’s Ministry Director for the past 3 years. She recently decided it was time to launch “Light for His Kingdom Ministries”
where they are committed to assisting women and children across the globe and spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. Scarlett loves hanging out with her family, hallmark movies, Disneyland, the beach and summer days soaking up the sun.
Mrs. Albertine (Tina) Hughes has been a foster parent with Alameda County for 39 years. She served on the California and National Foster Parent Association and was President of the Board of Alameda County Foster Parent Association for 21 years from 1990 to 2011.
Mrs. Hughes worked for the Berkeley Unified School District where she was a Special Education Teacher for children with learning disabilities and behavioral challenges. She is passionate about caring for children with special needs, whether physical or mental. Additionally, she has worked with commercially sexually exploited children, LGBTQ youth and non-minor dependents supporting them in achieving higher education or technical skills. She has been a Foster Parent Community Advocate for foster parents throughout the State of California. She has provided consultation to caregivers, offering education, resources and crisis management support to assist them with caring for the children placed in their homes.
Mrs. Hughes has 2 biological children and 3 adopted children. Many of the foster children she cared for have now aged out of the system but continue to visit “Ms. Hughes’ House”. She has been a guest at the California Capitol Building numerous times and has received honors for her work with foster children.
Mrs. Hughes is still going strong, and has been an inspiration to her biological children and other family members, who have followed in her footsteps by becoming foster and adoptive parents, supporting at risk youth and providing them with forever homes.