For instance, many refer to foster youth as “troubled kids”, implying that foster youth are flawed in some way or have behavioral problems.
They’re like any other kid, with one exception; they’ve experienced hardships created by the adults in their lives. They need a little extra compassion to recover from that trauma.
Some may be wrongly motivated. But typical annual reimbursements from Child Welfare Services are less than what food, shelter, transportation and clothing cost during the same period. For example, in the state of California, the basic foster care reimbursement rates compared to estimated costs of caring for children were between 82-86% of the total, depending on the age of the child.1
Some children enter foster care due to some form of abuse (e.g. physical, sexual, emotional, etc.) or abandonment by the parent or guardian. However, the majority enter due to neglect from parents who are usually struggling with multiple stressors such as homelessness, poverty, drug addiction, mental illness, or other social problems. Most parents do love and want their children. What can we do to help the kids while their parents get back on their feet?
On any given day in 2017, there were approximately 443,000 children in the system. Not only is there a severe shortage of foster homes, but the typical caseworker has 2-3 times the number of cases that can be effectively handled. As a result, kids slip through the cracks and may experience further neglect and/or abuse while in foster care.
There are thousands of child welfare organizations (i.e. governmental agencies, private agencies and nonprofit providers) working tirelessly to address the needs of foster kids. They do this while competing for the same pool of limited funds from the government or philanthropy. The result is a system where each provider is only resourced to deliver their “independent” solution to a multi-faceted problem. Leaving it to the intended recipient to figure out if, and how, to best utilize each “piece” of the solution. As any foster parent, social worker or CASA knows, it’s an impossible task to keep up with all of the disparate pieces of the system.
Imagine yourself as a child experiencing the trauma of neglect or abuse by your parents leading to forced separation. While it was best to be removed from that situation, you were given only the basics needed to survive, for years... might your life have turned out differently?
Many adults attribute their success to adults who believed in them or encouraged them in their youth. Many foster youth rarely experience this type of support.
In addition to the trauma they experience, too many simply do not have the relationships or resources that would allow them to develop naturally. The Village empowers everyone in the community to help address this developmental gap.
As a cooperative effort, The Village is being designed, built and run by its members - the SF Bay Area community. The opportunities to contribute are many. Whether it be time, talent or treasure, everyone has something of value to offer children from foster care.
All young people need caring adults in their lives to help them navigate the twists and turns along the path to adulthood.
Become part of the solution. We are looking for Caring Adults with expertise, experiences, and resources to provide insights and coaching to youth.
The Village is a cooperative community effort orchestrated by the nonprofit, Foster the Future Now.