Reflect back on your teenage years. What moments stand out as your favorites? When did you finally feel like an adult; when did you get your first taste of independence? Maybe it was your first job, getting your driver’s license, going to prom, getting accepted into college, or maybe it was making your first purchase on your own debit card. These “favorite moments” not only felt empowering and positive, but they also taught you life skills and started to prepare you for adulthood.
Tag: foster care
Meet Alexis, one of the brave youth in our care. As a foster youth, she’d been in multiple programs since she was a child, including a group home from which she had transitioned into FCNI’s TAY Housing program at 17. But like most youth her age, Alexis liked the idea of “working towards adult independence” a lot more than she did having to actually do it. She threw crowded parties with drugs and alcohol in her apartment which caused damage and led to her being hospitalized. Eventually, Alexis had to make a choice--she could either try to follow the rules of the program or she would have to exit. Alexis decided to leave her apartment and her support services behind.
Over the next two years, Alexis tried to live on her own. She ended up homeless and fell deeper into substance abuse, both of which put her in danger constantly. When she was hospitalized once again for an overdose, Alexis felt like she was at the end of her rope. At only 20, she had no idea what to do. At the hospital’s social worker’s suggestion, Alexis reached out to her previous Social Services Social Worker for help. After completing an in-patient drug rehabilitation program, Alexis was accepted into Transitional Housing. Once again, Alexis moved into her own apartment to begin her journey toward self-sufficiency. Read her full story today to see how Alexis established strong support systems, healthy life practices, and started on her pathway towards recovery and growth.
Foster parents are a vital resource to our community. They open up their hearts and homes to help youth who, for one reason or another, are unable to live with their biological family. They provide safety and stability to youth in need and truly are remarkable individuals. So what happens when there are not enough foster parents? In this piece, Emergency Shelter Program Supervisor, Tasha Farmer, explains what happens to foster youth who do not have a foster parent and the harsh reality they face when there are no homes available.
Rosa entered college undocumented and transitioning from foster care. These two life experiences meant that she faced more obstacles than almost all of her freshmen peers. The only thing that was for certain for Rosa, was that nothing was certain. She had dreams--big dreams--but she wasn’t fully sure if they would be attainable. All she really knew was that she had the drive and the determination to do her part to achieve her goals; all she needed was a little support to go the full distance.
Gratitude can come from suffering, hope from devastation, and intentionality from chaos.
I foster every day...I encourage and promote growth and healing in the lives of my bio children and in the youth who I mentor. If I were just to tell you that I foster, you probably and most likely, would think that I am talking about “foster care.”
Lottie didn’t have a typical childhood. Growing up with her dad who lived with a medical condition that left him physically challenged meant that Lottie had to carry more of the caregiving duties because he wasn’t able. Everything in Lottie's life took a backseat to her dad's condition and needs, including school and her own social development. Eventually her dad’s condition worsened and he was moved into a full-time care facility. Without any family, Lottie was placed into foster care at the age of 14.
I wanted to write about how significant the relationship between a social worker and foster parent is. I started three other attempts to do so. I tried to make one light hearted and humorous in which I compared myself to a LEGO. Another draft, leaned more on drama. In that one, I actually described the relationship like, “A relationship forged in the fire of the foster care system.” Overly dramatic much? On my fourth attempt, I finally realized why I was having such a hard time describing it.
I love my job! I work with amazing kids, the best colleagues in the business, and fabulous foster parents. Some people have questioned my sanity when I talk about “loving” my job. “It must be so hard,” they say. “How do you leave it at the office?” they ask. For me, it is the people, the kids, my colleagues and friends, and the foster parents and their families who helped shift this from a “job” to a career, a passion--a mission, if you will.
Right now, I am trying really hard to remain on my platform. My tolerance is gone. I am tired, achy, cold and it is taking all my might not to scream. Why all of this frustration, you might ask? After all, I am a FCNI shelter social worker. It's my job--my passion, my calling--to work with children entering Emergency Shelter Care. So why am I so frustrated and exhausted standing here outside of a foster home at 1:30 in the morning?