Children Need Families to Succeed.
Scientists agree that when a child grows up without a parent’s nurturing, their physical, emotional and cognitive development are significantly impaired.
Tragically, trauma caused by abuse, violence and neglect compounds these problems rendering children who have grown up without nurturing from a committed parent or parents greatly challenged to succeed. Additionally, the US foster care system allows children and young adults to be moved from home to home. These moves slowly erode a chlid’s trust in adults and disillusion them. Children cope in a variety of ways. Many or their actions have negative or detrimental results.
Too many kids in the United States are growing up in foster care, without permanent parents.
Without a committed relationship with an adult they are at great risk to crime and homelessness, lack of education, underemployment, and teen pregnancy. They lack the skills to build strong relationships and have their own healthy families.
Each year, 26,000 youth emancipate from foster care without the family support, education and community relationships that help them make successful transitions to adulthood. These young people experience very poor outcomes at a much higher rate than the general population.
- More than one in five will become homeless after age 18
- Only 58 percent will graduate high school by age 19 (compared to 87 percent of all 19 year olds)
- 71 percent of young women are pregnant by 21, facing higher rates of unemployment, criminal conviction, public assistance, and involvement in the child welfare system
- At the age of 24, only half are employed
- Fewer than 3 percent will earn a college degree by age 25 (compared to 28 percent of all 25 year olds
- One in four will be involved in the justice system within two years of leaving the foster care system
A Piece of the Solution
While no silver bullet exists to avoid all of these problems, or to place every child, many good programs exist which, when working in concert, can move children into families. Diligent recruitment involves a search through the case file and conversations with children in the child’s life who can serve as adoptive parents. Wendy’s Wonderful Kids packages all this together. Video promotion creates interest in a specific child when new prospects are needed, and generates inquiries, as evidenced by Wednesday’s Child. The Heart Gallery displays a group of children’s photos out in the community, where people can “see” the kids who would otherwise be invisible. Kidsave’s Family Visit Model is an additional tool in this selection of effective practices as it promotes specific kids individually, removes the veil of secrecy placed on foster children and enables them to actually meet people in the community. The engage with adults who serve as weekend hosts, mentors, champions for the child and often adoptive parents.
“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”
Kidsave’s Family Visit Model is a TOOL that governments, churches and other advocates can use to supplement their efforts finding a child a permanent connection – whether that be an adoptive family, a legal guardianship or a committed mentor. The Model supports social workers and volunteers to help increase the number of families interested in children/older older youth that are traditionally harder to place.
The Model enables community outreach and visits with volunteer host families on weekends and during school vacations which build trust and begin to set the wheels in motion to find a young person a permanent family.