Every year, our Independent Living Program in SLO County holds an Awards Night to honor our hard working youth--acknowledging their efforts to earn degrees or certifications, secure employment, and reach their life goals. We honor young people like Monica, a former foster youth who recently graduated from the Design School of Cosmetology and obtained her state license. At 20 years old, Monica is now employed at a local salon while raising her healthy, happy son. But her story won’t stop here--Monica plans to continue her education at Cuesta College this fall.
Welcome to our Blog! We post weekly articles written on a variety of topics from a variety of people, including our staff, volunteers, community members, and our parents and youth. The Voices of our Blog are opinion pieces, reflecting the diverse experiences and viewpoints of our community. These articles are not meant to represent the views of everyone at FCNI, our Board of Directors and staff, or present a definitive policy statement, but are designed to be informative and thought-provoking.
Foster Youth who “age-out” of care at 18 or 19 face multiple obstacles, regardless of their intended route to adulthood. Whether they want to go to college, go to a vocational program, or work to meet their own needs, they do so with limited life skills and even more limited resources and support. They also forge their paths alone, without parental safety nets or financial assistance.
It must be my imagination--at least I wish is was--but it seems that time is vanishing at an ever increasing rate. It’s like the more I accomplish, the more there is yet to be done. How disgusting it is to reach Friday, only to wish it was Monday because there is too much left on my “to do” list. And it can’t really be Friday, wasn’t it just Sunday? What a convoluted picture. But, I have a sneaky suspicion that many of you are nodding your heads in agreement. It’s an unfortunate side effect of the human services business--an unfortunate side effect of life!
We have reached the end of May and National Foster Care Awareness Month, a well-deserved acknowledgment of the incredible, selfless work done by the thousands of individuals and families providing family-based treatment, care and supervision. Having worked with Foster Parents for over 40 years, I have unwavering respect for these children’s champions, along with some strong opinions about our foster care system.
I’m sure we’ve all heard a lot of different words to describe foster parents and/or foster parenting. Hopefully phrases such as, “hearts of gold” and “selfless heroes” outnumber the negative and inaccurate sentiments that too often plague this noble and challenging life choice many (but not enough) make.