I was introduced to the world of adoption social work in 2010. As a new director for an existing agency I learned everything I could about adoption from the families to law makers. I learned about the difficulties, the expense, the unexpected challenges, and the small victories and especially the love and bond of a newly formed family. I learned that some families were overlooked or excluded all together because they didn't fit into the traditional adoption mold. It bothered me that families who were well qualified to care for a child were turned away because they weren't traditional, or didn't have a large disposable income available to them to pay for a home study or they required a little extra time to put finances in order. I grew dissatisfied turning families away that I knew would make good adoptive parents if they were given the chance.
There needed to be an agency that was dedicated to be open to all families and individuals who wanted to provide a home, assistance, or financial support to children, to keep them out of foster care in the first place, or to work to get them out of foster care. Every night over 100,000 children in the United States do not have a permanent home to call their own and there is no real plan for permanency in their future.
They live with families who are not their own, come to homes that are not theirs, sleep in beds and play with toys that are not theirs. They are long term guests living with strangers. For those of us who have never experienced this it's hard to understand the long term affects. But there are long term affects. Children in foster care learn not to trust, to feel unsettled, to be used to everything in life changing in an instant. On average children in care will move a minimum of four times in their first year in care.
In the United States, a child is removed from their primary care provider every two minutes
Only 30% of children in care are placed with a family member
The average age of a child in foster care is 8.5 years
The average age of a child adopted from foster care is 6 years old
27% of children stay in the foster care system for more than 3 years
42% of children in foster care will drop out of high school
Less than 3% of children in foster care will get a college degree
1 in 5 will be homeless within 1 year of aging out of the foster care system
Our children and our families deserve better, they deserve more. So when the opportunity to create a new agency presented itself, there was no hesitation, just excitement for the opportunity to work for children in our community, state, and nation.
The individuals who work with us make a difference in the lives of our children. Together we can change these numbers. We can change the system, the way we work with children and families, and more importantly, the way children in foster care see themselves and the world around them.
Thank you for being interested in our organization. With your support we can write a new narrative for our youth in foster care. You CAN make a difference in the life of a child.