CORONA DEL MAR — Frank and Nancie Carpenter's house, just blocks from Corona del Mar High School, has become a revolving door for children whose biological parents find themselves in a bind.
Take Juan and Demi, infants whose young mother is serving an eight-month jail sentence for theft. The mother is, for all intents and purposes, logistically out of pocket and a bit too indisposed at the moment to be a mother.
"She's kind of a personification of all the things that can go wrong with somebody's life," says Frank Carpenter, 49, who, with his wife, Nancie, decided to lend a helping hand by taking the children under their wings and giving them shelter. "She's got legal troubles, drug troubles, the whole tomato, but we have confidence that she'll be able to better herself. She has to."
But in the interim, the Carpenters are taking over where the mother left off. It's all part of Safe Families for Children, a nationwide nonprofit group that's fast becoming an alternative to having to hand the children over to the government, said Carrie Cornwall, a spokeswoman for Olive Crest, an Orange County-based nonprofit that raises the money to help fund Safe Families.