Ventura County Foster Parent Association

By-Laws and Constitution of the VCFPA

 

ARTICLE I – NAME, ADDRESS, PURPOSE

Introduction:

These By-laws and Constitution, contained herein, are formed in accordance with those of the California State Foster Parent Association (CSFPA). These By-laws and Constitution shall not be in intentional conflict with those of the CSFPA. Should a conflict be identified, the CSFPA’s By-laws shall supersede those of this Association for the areas in conflict until the conflict is resolved or the By-laws of this Association are amended.

SECTION 1: Name

This organization shall be known as The Ventura County Foster Parent Association and shall be hereinafter referred to as the Association or VCFPA. This Association is formed and chartered as Chapter 25 of the California State Foster Parent Association (CSFPA) and agrees to promote the principals and objectives of that organization.

SECTION 2: PRINCIPAL OFFICE AND ADDRESS

The principal office of this Association, for the transaction of its business, shall be located in Ventura County, California and shall be 1014 South Westlake Blvd, Suite 14-142, Westlake Village, CA 91361 unless specified otherwise by the Board of Directors.

SECTION 3: Purpose

A. To establish a central Association in Ventura County to bringing together all Foster Parent, Kinship Care Providers, and Non-Related Extended Family Members (NREFMs) who wish to work together for the same purposes as set forth in these By-laws.

B. To promote the general welfare of children that need protective care everywhere; at home, in the communities, in institutions and in public, private and religious schools.

C. To develop a better understanding of the issues and challenges of foster home care, both by the persons involved in caring for children and by the general public.

D. To encourage the training and education of personnel for work in the field of foster care, and to encourage the recruitment and retention of foster and adoptive homes.

E. To inform our membership of the current information pertaining to the welfare of children in protective care.

F. To unite diverse and multi-cultural foster parents in their goal to provide excellent care for at-risk youth, as well as provide support, when appropriate, to birth families in their efforts towards family reunification.

G. To promote and support foster care services, operate and administer outreach programs that support children in foster and kinship care, and provide ongoing professional support and training to foster parents in Ventura County.

H. Notwithstanding the above statements, the Association shall not, except to an insubstantial degree, engage in any activities or exercise any powers that are not in furtherance of the primary purpose.

ARTICLE II - MEMBERSHIP

SECTION 1. “Foster Parent” Defined

A “foster parent” shall be defined for purposes of these By-laws as a person licensed or recognized by a child-placing agency in the State of California to care for children in the protective care of the court, in a family home, non-institutional in character.

SECTION 2. Types of Membership

A. Regular Member: A licensed or certified foster parent, as defined in this section who pays the specified dues and applies for membership to the Association. He/she may vote at all meetings of the membership and hold office.

B. Associate Member: Any individual who desires to participate in and support the goals of the Association and who pays the specified dues and applies for membership to the Association. This would include, but is not limited to, individuals with relative placement (grandchildren, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, etc.), court appointed placements where children are cared for without benefit of a license or certification, guardianship parents/relatives, group home parents/staff, social workers, community supporters, individual sponsors, community and religion affiliated supporters, college associated trainers/educators, legislative liaison personnel, ILP coordinators, or any other non-foster home licensed or non-foster home certified personnel. Associate Members pay the specified dues and apply for membership Associate Members enjoy all of the benefits of the association, including voting privileges and election to office as described in these By-laws with the exception that they may not hold the office of President or Vice-President.

C. Ex-Officio Member: The Board of Directors may invite representatives from agencies or other organizations, private individuals, or community members to become ex-officio members. Ex-Officio Members are selected based on their Associations, professional skills, community involvement, or other unique traits that might not be available in the Association General Membership that are critical to the accomplishment to the Association’s Mission and Objectives..

1. These persons shall act as liaisons between the Association and the agencies or organizations they represent if so applicable.

2. Ex-officio members shall have full voting privileges in the Association but pay no dues. Ex-officio members are not considered members of the CSFPA unless invited as such by the CSFPA Board of Directors or a membership application is accepted.

3. Upon instruction of the Board of Directors, they may present proposals to their agencies or organizations and, as directed, submit reports of their activities.

4. May not be a candidate for any elected office of the Association.

5. Serve at the pleasure of the Board of Directors and may be removed at the President's discretion with approval from the Executive Board.

D. Honorary Member: An honorary membership may be awarded to a person who has rendered a notable service to the Association and shows an extraordinary interest or support in promoting its well-being. The name and recommendation of the candidate for honorary membership shall be presented to the Board of Directors for approval. Honorary members do not pay dues, nor may they vote or hold an office based on their Honorary Membership status. Honorary membership shall be recognized for one year from the date of presentation.

E. Lifetime Member: A lifetime membership may be awarded to a person who has rendered notable service to the Association and shows an extraordinary interest or support in promoting its well-being. Lifetime members do not pay dues, but may hold office and are members of the Board of Directors for life and as such may vote at all meetings (board and annual). The name and recommendation of a candidate for lifetime membership shall be presented to the Board of Directors for approval. Lifetime Memberships awarded by this Association are not Lifetime Members of the CSFPA without subsequent and separate CSFPA application and approval.

SECTION 3 – Admission, suspension, expulsion of members, and chapter dissolution

A. Admission: Any person or group requesting membership who is qualified for membership under these By-laws shall be admitted only on the approval of the Board of Directors (or Membership Committee duly authorized by the Board of Directors to admit members). They shall submit an application and pay such fees as prescribed in these By-laws and Operating Procedures. If their application is rejected by the Board of Directors (or authorized membership committee) any fees paid during the application process shall be refunded.

B. Transfer of Membership Rights: Neither membership in the Association, nor any rights in the membership, may be transferred.

C. Suspension: Members that fail to pay dues and/or comply with other financial, reporting requirements, or operating procedures and policies of the Association as specified in these By-laws and/or the Association's documented operating procedures shall automatically be suspended and lose all privileges, including voting rights, until re-instated. Compliance with the Association's By-laws and operating procedures, including compliance with reporting requirements and/or payment of dues, shall entitle the member to be re-instated at the next Board of Directors meeting.

D. Expulsion: Any member who is found to have acted in a manner detrimental to the Association may be expelled from the Association by a two-thirds vote of the Board of Directors. A certified letter shall be sent to any such member that has been recommended for expulsion. The member may address the Board of Directors at its next meeting. All expulsions shall be ratified at the next general membership meeting. The member shall be considered to be suspended from the time of the vote of the Board of Directors until the expulsion is ratified. The expelled member has the right to be heard before the expulsion ratification vote. Once expelled, that member loses all privileges of the Association.

E. Dissolution of a Chapter: The Association shall be dissolved upon presentation of a petition to dissolve, signed by a 2/3 majority of the members of record of the Association. The petition shall be presented to the Association Executive Board for approval. Upon the dissolution or winding up of the chapter, its assets remaining after payment or provision for payment, of all chapter debts and liabilities shall be turned over to the treasury of the California State Foster Parent Association.

SECTION 4 - Dues:

Annual dues for all types of membership will be determined and set by the Board of Directors of the Association and ratified by a simple majority of the members present and voting at the next membership meeting and shall be effective as proposed. Membership dues shall be non-transferable and non-refundable.

SECTION 5 - Representation:

No member shall represent the Association without approval of the Board of Directors.

ARTICLE III – OFFICERS AND COMMITTEE CHAIRS

SECTION 1- OFFICERS

A. Identification. The elected officers of the Association shall be President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer.

B. Qualifications

1. General

a. The nominee shall be a member in good standing with the Association at all times.

b. The nominee shall be nominated by a member of the Association in good standing. Should the nominee already hold the office and wish to be considered for re-election for that same office, they may self-nominate.

c. The nominee will have been a member in good standing with the Association for at least one year prior to nomination and fully attended at least four (4) general membership meetings of the Association in that same year.

d. A nominee who has previously held office in the Association that has either resigned or been removed from that office may not hold or be considered for any subsequent office for a period of six (6) years without the prior approval of the Board of Directors

2. In addition to the General Requirement of this Section, a nominee for President must also have:

a. The nominee shall, at the time of election, be recognized as a foster parent in good standing in accordance with their local governing body regulations.

b. Proven leadership qualities and basic parliamentary knowledge, or ability to obtain it.

3. In addition to the General Requirement of this Section, a nominee for Vice President must also have:

a. The nominee shall, at the time of election, be recognized as a foster parent in good standing in accordance with their local governing body regulations.

b. Proven leadership qualities and basic parliamentary knowledge, or ability to obtain it.

c. The ability to assume the President's duties in the President's absence.

4. A nominee for Secretary must also have:

a. Experience in producing detailed minutes and basic computer knowledge.

5. A nominee for Treasurer must also have:

a. Served as Treasurer of other organizations or previously provided professional accounting or book keeping services.

b. Knowledge of general accounting principles and practice as they pertain to non-profit corporations.

c. Experience with budgets over $50,000, preferably with non-profit organizations

d. A working knowledge of contracts and grants.

e. They must be able to be bonded for a minimum of $150,000.00.

C. DUTIES OF THE OFFICERS

Each outgoing officer must forward all records of the office to the incoming officer within thirty (30) days after the last day in office.

1. President

a. Is the chief executive officer.

b. Preside at all regular, special or called meetings of the Board, Executive Committee and the general membership.

c. Be responsible for the general management and supervision of the affairs and operation of the Association.

d. Have the authority to appoint the chairmen of all-standing committees and ad-hoc committees as needed by the Association, except the Nominating Committee. The President may be appointed chairperson of any committee (except the Nominating Committee) by a majority vote of the Board of Directors in so long as no other qualified chairperson can be identified from among the Association’s membership that are in good standing.

e. Be an ex-officio member with a vote on all the committees except the Nominating Committee.

f. With the elected Treasurer, sign all contracts on obligations authorized by the Board of Directors.

g. Cast the deciding vote in the event of any tied issue at the Board of Directors or general membership meetings.

h. Officially and publicly represent the Association.

i. Perform such other duties as provided by these By-laws or as commonly appertain to the office of President.

2. Vice President

a. Perform the duties of the President when the President is absent or otherwise unable to serve.

b. Perform other such duties as delegated by the President.

3. Secretary

a. Keep all the records of the Board of Directors’ meetings and general membership meetings, or Special Meetings to include either a voice recording or written minutes of all sessions of the Executive Board and Board of Directors for a period of five (5) years.

b. Submit to the President, members of the Board and those that the President might designate, a copy of minutes taken.

c. Be prepared, on call, to inform the President of the number of members in good standing at Board, Executive Committee and general membership meetings

d. Perform such other duties as provided by these By-laws or as commonly appertain to the office of Secretary.

4. Treasurer

a. Be responsible for collecting and safeguarding all the funds of the Association.

b. Be responsible for all disbursement of the Associations funds as authorized by a membership-approved yearly budget or individual authorization of the Board of Directors

c. Have for review, upon request, all financial records.

d. Make regular reports to the general membership at meetings of the Association.

e. Be properly bonded at the discretion of the Board of Directors.

SECTION 2 – STANDING COMMITTEES

A. The Board of Directors shall establish such standing committees as deemed necessary to further the goals of the Association and carry out the objectives of the Board in performing its duties.

B. Establishment of such committees shall be on a motion, seconded and carried by a majority of the voting board members present.

C. The authority of each standing committee terminates and the committee dissolves every year

D. The standing committees shall be: By-laws; Ways and Means; Membership; Website and Communication; Nomination.

E. All Committee Chairpersons except the Nominating Committee Chairperson, shall be appointed, as needed, by the President with the approval of the Executive Board.

F. Committee Chairpersons shall serve at the pleasure of the Board of Directors and may be removed at the President's discretion with approval from the Executive Board.

G. The majority of all chairpersons shall be foster parents.

SECTION 3 - NOMINATION AND ELECTION

A. Nomination Committee

1. The Nominating Committee shall be responsible for seeking out and determining qualifications of election nominees for all Association offices, presenting all candidates who are qualified to the membership for each office up for election, prepare ballots and conduct the elections as perscribed in these By-laws.

2. Candidates presented for any office must have agreed to serve if elected and meet the qualifications of office for which they are nominted as well as any other qualifications outlined in these By-laws.

3. Association presidents and vice-presidents shall be in good standing with their local placing or certifying agencies at the time of election. Once elected, officers may remain in office in the event of allegations or a filed complaint until such time as their license is revoked, suspended, or surrendered or they are no longer certified.

4. The committee shall be selected from within the Association membership by the Secretary and be comprised of three (3) members, and one (1) alternate all of whom are members in good standing and members for at least one year.

5. The Secretary will present the chosen members and alternates to the Board of Directors for approval.

6. Members of the Nominating Committee and their alternates shall serve for a one year term.

7. A chairman of the Nominating Committee shall be elected by a majority vote of the committee delegates present at the first Nominating Committee meeting, which shall be held immediately following the Board of Director ratification of members.

8. Any member of the Nominating Committee may be nominated for an office. However, they may not count, handle, receive, or be present when the ballots are counted by the committee.

9. The president shall not appoint to or be allowed to serve on the Nominating Committee. The president's spouse (or other licensed family members) shall not serve on the Nominating Committee.

B. Election Process

1. The election of the Association Officers shall be by a ballot provided to all members in good standing by the Nominating Committee Chair. Any member of the Association who joins the Association after September 1st of a given year is not eligible to participate in chapter elections of that same year.

2. The ballots shall be provided – either in person or via mail - no later than November 1st of each calendar year and returned to the Nominating Chair or postmarked no later than December 1st of each year.

3. The Nominating Committee shall solict, qualify and prepare a slate of candidates in the month of October.

4. The President and Vice-President shall be elected in even-numbered years and take office in the following odd-numbered year. The Secretary and Treasurer shall be elected in odd-numbered years and take office in the following even-numbered year.

5. The candidate for each office receiving the plurality of votes cast shall be elected to that office.

6. In the event the count of votes cast for a specific office is a tie, a special meeting of the membership shall be called and vote will be held at that meeting to determine a winner. The candidate receiving the plurality of votes casts by those members in good standing who are present shall be elected to that office.

7. In the event that there is not more than one qualified candidate nominee for office at the end of the nomination period, the single candidate will be considered elected to that office and no election shall be held.

C. Term of Office

1. The term of office for elected officers of the Association shall be for two years beginning on January 1st after the election and ends the last day of the 2nd year.

2. No officer shall be elected for more than three consecutive terms. Six (6) years in the same office.

D. Vacancies

1. Shall be filled by appointment of the President and approved by a majority vote of the Board of Directors.

2. The office of President shall be filled by the Vice-President.

3. In the event an officer dies or resigns prior to taking office, the position shall be filled in the same manner as a vacancy.

4. The member shall meet the requirements for the office in which they are being appointed.

5. Half a term shall be considered a full term.

ARTICLE IV - Board of Directors

SECTION 1 - MEMBERS

The authority of the Association shall be vested by the membership in the Board of Directors, which shall be responsible for the leadership, vision, management, property and assets of the Association. The Board of Directors is composed of the following

A. Executive Board

1. Consisting of the President, Immediate Past President (if qualified), Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer.

2. The Executive Board have the authority to Conduct emergency business transactions including disbursment of unbudgted chapter funds between regularly scheduled business meetings via conference calls and written correspondence including email, or special meetings. Any emergency business transactions shall be approved by majority vote of the Executive Board and will be presented for ratification by the Secretary at the next regularly scheduled board meeting.

B. Standing Committee Chairs

C. Lifetime Members

D. Ex-officio Members

SECTION 2 - ALL MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

A. The majority of the Board of Directors voting on any issue must be foster parents.

B. May, without meeting together, transact business by voting upon proposed resolutions sent to them by the Secretary with the approval of the President.

SECTION 3 - DUTIES OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

A. Interpret and enforce the provisions of the By-laws and Constitution and Operating Procedures of the Association.

B. Promote by attitude and action, constructive social action needed to bring about changes and improvements in child welfare systems and legislation pertaining to all children and families.

C. Act as an information center and research body regarding constitutional matters, finance, education and legislative actions and to disseminate such information.

D. Provide a vehicle for communication among foster parents, local Foster Parent Associations, and Child Welfare agencies.

E. Cooperate with other organizations which have similar objectives in whole or in part to those of this Association.

F. Formulate such rules, policies, procedures, and regulations as in the opinion of the Board of Directors that are essential to the interests and objectives of the Association.

SECTION 4 - REMOVAL OF BOARD MEMBERS

A. Any member of the Board of Directors of the Association may be removed for failure to attend two consecutive Board of Directors meeting without good reason (excused) and/or for failure to perform the duties of their office or committee.

B. The Association membership may recall the President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasure, at any time during the term office using the Procedures for Recall set forth in this section.

C. Procedure for Recall. Following the determination that a member or officer should be recalled the following procedures shall be implemented:

1. Upon (1) the presentation of petition from the membership that shall be originally signed by a majority of the membership in good standing that is received and verified by the Secretary; or (2) upon direction from the board of the Directors, the Secretary shall send notice, by certified or registered mail to the last address of the officer as shown on the Association records, setting forth the recall and the reasons therefore. Such notice shall state the date, time, and place of the hearing for recall and be sent at least fifteen (15) days before the proposed effective date of the recall.

2. The officer being recalled shall be given an opportunity to be heard, either orally or in writing, at a hearing to be held not less than five (5) days before the effective date of the proposed recall. The hearing will be chaired by the President or the most senior Executive Board member, follow Robert’s Rules of Order and be open to the general membership in accordance with the quorum and voting rules set forth in these By-laws.

3. Following the hearing, the membership in good standing that is present shall decide whether or not the officer shall be recalled, suspended, or sanctioned in some other way. The decision of the membership shall be final.

ARTICLE V – MEETINGS

The Secretary shall provide an agenda for all meetings at least 30 days prior, unless otherwise specified in these by-laws, to the date of the meeting to all eligible attendees. The agenda items shall be solicited from eligible attendees of the meeting subject be subject to the approval of the Executive Board.

SECTION 1 - ANNUAL MEETINGS

A. The Association may have an annual membership meeting at such location and time as determined by the Board of Directors.

B. The Secretary shall provide written notice of the time and place of the Annual Meeting mailed to each member at least thirty (30) days prior to the date of the meeting.

SECTION 2 – GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS

The Association shall hold at least six general membership meetings in a calendar year. The agenda of these meetings may include business of the Association that is to be brought before the membership for vote or ratification as directed in these By-laws or the Association’s Written Operating Procedures, continuing education training, presentations, guest speakers, or other information that would benefit the members of the Association.

SECTION 3 – BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETINGS

The Association shall hold at least six Board of Directors meetings in a calendar year. Committee Chairpersons, Ex-officio Members, and officers shall report on the activities of their office or organization at all Board of Directors meetings.

SECTION 4 – SPECIAL MEETINGS

A. A Special Meeting of the Association my be called under the following circumstances:

1. A simple majority vote of either the Executive Board or the Board of Directors

2. At the written request of any member in good standing that includes the signatures of at least 50% of the general membership who are also in good standing and that is presented to the Board of Directors and verified.

3. As otherwise specified in the articles of these by-laws.

B. Notice of special meetings shall be provided to eligible attendees at least 15 days in advance of the date and time the meeting is scheduled.

C. Special meetings shall be called for the reasons outlined in these by-laws and shall serve a specific purpose and have an agenda limited in scope to the matter at hand.

SECTION 5 - OTHER MEETINGS

Members of the Association may, without meeting together, transact business, by mail or email, by voting upon proposed resolutions mailed to them by the Secretary with the approval of the President. If within 30 days thereafter, a majority of the members who voted, vote in favor of such resolution, said resolution shall be deemed carried; otherwise it shall fail.

SECTION 6 - ORDER

All meetings shall be conducted in accordance with the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order New Revised.

SECTION 7 - QUORUM

Except as otherwise specially provided by law, the Articles of Incorporation, or these By-laws, those members of the Association, in good standing, who are present at the call of any meeting constitute a quorum for the transaction of business thereat. Except as otherwise specially provided by law, the Articles of Incorporation or these By-laws, members of the Association shall not be permitted to vote by proxy.

ARTICLE VI – AMENDMENT

SECTION 1 - OPERATING PROCEDURES

The association shall maintain written Operating Procedures that govern the day-to-day activities of the Association. These procedures:

A. Shall be maintained by the Secretary

B. Shall cover any topic deemed necessary by this Association’s Board of Directors.

C. May be added to, or repealed, in whole or in part, by a majority vote of the Board of Directors.

SECTION 2 - BYLAWS

Proposed amendments to these by-laws must be submitted in writing to the President, at least 60 days prior to being heard by the membership for vote.

These By-laws may be amended or new By-laws enacted by a 2/3 majority vote of the members present at any general membership meeting of the Association, provided the proposed amendments or new By-laws are stated in full in a notice to the membership that is either mailed to the members address of record at least thirty (30) days prior to the meeting or posted for review on the Association website at least ten (10) days prior to the meeting for review.

Any new or amended By-laws changes that succeed a vote of the membership shall take effect immediately upon adoption or as motioned.

ARTICLE VII - POLICY

SECTION 1 - STANDING

The Association shall be self-governing, nonprofit, nonpartisan and nonsectarian, and shall not discriminate against any person on account of sex, race, creed, religion, sexual orientation, or national origin.

SECTION 2 - FUNDING

The Association shall solicit and receive funds for the accomplishment and furtherance of these By-laws.

SECTION 3 - ACTIVITIES AND POWERS

The Association shall not engage in any activities or exercise any powers that are contrary to law or to the primary purposes for which this Association was formed.

SECTION 4 - NON-PROFIT STATUS

The Association is organized for nonprofit purposes and the individual members will not derive individual profit or benefit there from. The property of the Association is irrevocably dedicated to charitable purposes and no part of the net income or assets of the Association shall ever inure to the benefit of any director, officer, or member thereof.

SECTION 5 - POLITICAL LIMITATIONS

No substantial part of the activities of the Association shall consist of carrying on propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation. Furthermore, the Association shall not participate or intervene in any political campaign (including the publishing or distribution of statements) on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office.

SECTION 6 – HOLD HARMLESS

Each member of the Association agrees that it shall indemnify, defend and hold harmless the officers, director, employees, agents, members and shareholders from and against any costs, expenses (including, among other expenses, reasonable attorneys’ fees and expenses), losses, damages (specifically excluding consequential, exemplary, special, indirect or punitive damages), suits, claims, or liabilities incurred and arising from, participating in, or relating to members’s use of the services or activities of the Association.

SECTION 7 - OTHER ACTIVITIES

Notwithstanding any other provision of these articles, the Association shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on (a) by an Association exempt from federal income tax under section 501 (c)(3) or the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (or corresponding provisions of any future United States Internal Revenue law) or (b) by Association contributions which are deductible under Section 170(c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (or corresponding provisions of any future United States Internal Revenue law.

SECTION 8 - DISSOLUTION

Upon the dissolution or winding up of the Association, its assets remaining after payment, or provision for payment, of all debts and liabilities or the Association shall be distributed to the California State Foster Parent Association, which is organized and operated exclusively for charitable purposes and which has established it tax exempt status under 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

SECTION 9 - FISCAL YEAR

The fiscal year of the Association shall be January 1 to December 31.