The month of May is National Foster Care Month, which is a time to shine a light on the children and families in care. It is also a time to acknowledge the importance of supporting youth in care and how it plays a role in bettering their lives overall.
Children in foster care often face a challenging journey. According to The AFCARS Report, there are about 424,000 children in foster care in the United States. In 2019, over 672,000 children spent time in the foster care system. In that same year, over 20,000 of youth aged out of foster care. It has been found that those who leave foster care without permanent families have a higher likelihood to face homelessness, unemployment, and incarceration as adults. In fact, 20 percent of foster youth will become homeless the day they transition out. This is why providing stability for youth is quite crucial.
Having a stable home and support system is an important part of early development in youth. Without stability, kids are left without a sense of security and safety. Such instability causes major stress on a child. According to Dr. Gail Gross, “Such stressors, in a child’s life, can lead to unintended consequences, including behavior problems, academic problems, social problems, problems with substance abuse and impulse control.” She goes on to say that creating a stable environment is what is needed to build a healthy and successful future for a child. An essential part of ensuring a stable future is acknowledging what necessities a child and their family need to make that possible.
The Dream Center’s Foster Care Intervention team works with many families who have open cases with the Department of Children and Family Services. Our ultimate goal is to help families stay together by providing the necessary basic necessities to maintain a stable home. By partnering with DCFS, we help loving families avoid separation and provide support for families who are in the process of reunification and aid in helping close their case.
Another essential part of transitioning out of foster care is creating and maintaining meaningful support and connections. A study by George Mason University found that youth who had a sense of security and consistency were able to have an easier transition. They state that youth who received such support were optimistic about their future, “Despite facing significant obstacles, the youth demonstrated resilience… as they contemplated their futures.” This is why the Dream Center has created a Foster Youth Residential Program dedicated to helping those who are transitioning out of foster care. This program supports young adults by providing the necessary resources, such as educational learning and job training, along with providing a supportive community and mentorship. Our program creates a safe and stable space for them to thrive, and provides the tools for them to succeed.
Providing safe and stable spaces ensures that all youth can reach their fullest potential. Through love and support, the future is a brighter place.
To hear more about our Foster Care Intervention outreach, you can learn more here.