Trevor never imagined calling his car “home.” But that’s exactly what happened to him, his son and daughter when living in their car became their only housing choice. Even though Trevor was employed full time, his rent had been raised twice in the last year alone. With no raise to help with rising costs, it was impossible for him to meet his landlord’s demands. Eviction became inevitable. But Trevor didn’t want to completely displace his children, moving them away from their school and friends, nor could he afford to leave his only source of income.
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.
At 12, twins, Kyle and Nick, were very different. Kyle was quick to react—verbally and physically—without much regard for others. While Nick, painfully shy, often let Kyle do all the talking (and reacting) for him. The boys had been placed in Emergency Shelter Care when it was discovered that their parents were unable to provide them with a safe and stable home. In care, both boys displayed the trauma that they experienced through their behaviors--Kyle became more aggressive and Nick withdrew almost completely.
Many of you know the story behind my beginning the Family Care Network. One of the driving forces behind it was my frustration of working so many years within the Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare systems and the horrible, unconscionable way foster youth were exited from the system--“There’s the door; have a nice life.” Youth were basically forced out on their own, some taken directly to homeless shelters. They had no family, no skills, no resources and were given no support whatsoever.
Stop right now. Lift up your hands and inspect them carefully. What story do they tell? For some of us with more than a few years behind us, they may be scarred, twisted with arthritis or calloused from years of work. While for others, they may be beautiful, well-manicured and happy appendages. Hands are essential. They are a critical connection to others, to our environment, to our success, to our pleasure--to our survival! For a moment, imagine your life without your hands!
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.