Three+ years ago I wrote an article published by The Chronicle for Social Change, entitled “California’s Continuum of Care Reform – Will It Produce as Promised?” Fast forward to today--has CCR produced as promised? Remember that the goal of CCR was to reduce group home placements by shifting foster youth to family-based services. There have been some modest accomplishments, but from my perspective, there is a long way to go to really achieve success!
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.
I have wanted to work with trauma-impacted children and foster youth since I was very young. I went off to get my degree in psychology and moved back to the Central Coast eager to enact change in children’s lives, but I never imagined how much this field would change me. In the two years I’ve worked at FCNI, my job as a Rehabilitation Specialist (RS) has consisted of working with kids and families in their daily environment to help them build skills they need to cope and thrive.
The increasing focus on transition age youth (TAY), ages 16–24, is important and necessary. TAY are navigating the developmental years of growing out of childhood and into adulthood. Brain development in TAY is incomplete, leading to limitations in decision making, impulsivity, risk taking, and emotion regulation. These years are important for individuation and development of an autonomous self. These are individuals on whom we should all be focused to be able to provide support, care, and direction as they navigate early adulthood.
I grew up in a family environment where we were absolutely expected to go to college--no questions asked. I am sure there are many of you who can relate. It was college or college–and, I had no idea what I really wanted to do with my life.
The following is a true story written and shared by a young woman whose bravery knows no bounds. As you read Sandra’s story, remind yourself of the immense courage it required to not only live such a life of trauma and adversity, but how much it took to write it all down, accept the words as your truth and then be willing to share that truth with strangers. Thank you, Sandra, for rising above and continuing to reach for your dreams each and every day; for choosing joy and hope when it doesn’t come easy.