Monday, April 29, 2013
Sunday, April 14, 2013
- 81% of males will have been arrested by age 24.
- 54% report having at least one mental health problem.
- 33% receive neither a high school diploma nor a GED, compared to fewer than 10 percent of their same-age peers.
- 33% have household incomes below the poverty level, which is three times the national rate.
- 25% have experienced post-traumatic stress disorder, compared to 15% of Vietnam War veterans and 12% of Iraq War veterans.
Monday, April 8, 2013
Adolescence is one of the most difficult times in life. It's a period where we are desperately searching to find our place and to be accepted and loved. We are trying to figure out who we are, what we believe in and whether we are worth something to anyone.
Most kids today are working through all of that in a stable home environment. Not our nation's foster children. These children, who already have had their freedom and their voice taken away upon entering the foster care system, are often left to navigate the rough waters of adolescence alone.
Over a third of our foster teens are living in an institution, not a family. They do not have someone asking about their day, checking on their homework, consoling them through a break-up, or cheering them at their basketball game.
No one is praying for them, encouraging them, challenging them, or just plain doing life with them.
Teenagers in foster care who have not been adopted face an overwhelmingly bleak future.
Foster Care laws vary state by state, but most children "age out" of foster care between 18 and 21.
What does that mean?
Teens who "age out" are no longer provided with resources and services by the state. Once they leave the system, they must find their own living arrangements, job, transportation, and meet their own daily needs.
Here is why that is troubling.
These are the forgotten children.
Most would agree that it is a whole lot easier to love a chubby-cheeked nine month-old baby who just came into foster care than a surly, brash teenage girl who has been in care for over a decade.
But that surly, brash teenage girl was once nine months old. She once lived with a biological family, and somewhere along the way, things went horribly wrong. She has since suffered because of the decisions of those who were meant to protect her. Years, memories, and dreams have been stolen from her. And it's not her fault.
Children in foster care do not have a voice. They do not get to decide where they go and with which family they will be placed.
Once they hit adolescence, there are very few people left fighting for them.
And that's when they need it most.
So what can be done?
1. Become a foster parent to teens. It's not a job for everyone, but it's a job for someone. Could that be your family? Contact your local Social Services department to inquire about the needs, requirements, and training required.
2. Give, Donate, Encourage. There are great organizations that come alongside teens aging out of the foster care system. Take a minute to check them out and see if you want to be a part.
The Camellia Network. Supporting specific former foster teens who have aged out by helping them with college, finding a job, and providing a gift registry to assist them in getting on their feet.
Do 1 Thing. Foster Care and Homelessness often coincide. Do 1 Thing is an organization dedicated to helping out our nation's homeless youth, many of whom are former foster children. You can find a listing of organizations by state that are doing something to help eradicate homelessness here.
3. Become a Mentor. It's a disheartening reality, but adoption isn't going to happen for many adolescents in foster care. That is all the more reason that we need to fight to make sure they are not forgotten or ignored.
Mentoring a foster child is where a relationship is built without the child living full-time in the home. There are many ways that it can look; time spent hanging out, going to eat, offering wisdom and guidance, a shoulder to cry on, or even just a sounding board for a teen who never has anyone that listens to them. This is a role that can be life-changing, for both the mentor and the teen. Everyone needs someone who has their back, is going to fight for them, and encourages them to dream about the future.
On May 1st, at 6pm, ONEfamily will be hosting an informational meeting on becoming a Mentor. Amanda Faulk, DHR Social Worker, will be sharing about the needs, the misconceptions of foster children, and the ways in which you can get involved in Mentoring. Please join us at Frazer UMC in Room 7208 to learn more.
By just CARING about a child and offering LOVE and TIME, it could impact our entire NATION.
Doing something doesn't take a special degree or talent. It means being there and showing up for child in need.
Someone needs to fight for them. Will it be you?
Statistics Found From the Following Sites:
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
This is the second installment of the Foster Care Q&A Series. If you missed the first post, Foster Care: The Basics, please take a moment and read it first.
1. Can you decide what ages and gender of the children you will foster?
Have more questions after reading this? Leave them in the comments below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Sunday, March 17, 2013
ONEfamily is hosting a Chick-Fil-A Spirit Night this Tuesday, March 19th from 5-7pm at their Eastchase location.
By simply dining at Chick-fil-a, you are helping a Frazer family in the adoption process! Adoption can be expensive and this is an easy way to be a part of bringing a child into a forever family.
Frazer UMC has teamed up with Lifesong for Orphans to open an Lifesong Adoption Fund. Members of Frazer currently in the adoption process can apply for a matching grant through this fund, which will help defray the costs of adoption.
Chick-Fil-A will donate 20% of the proceeds to the Frazer Lifesong Fund.
When ordering at the counter or the drive-thru, please be sure to indicate that you are there for the "Spirit Night," so the money is properly allocated.
We hope to see you there!
Friday, March 1, 2013
- Adults (In Alabama, it's 19 years old and up)
- Married Couples
2. What is required to become a Foster Parent?
- Background Checks
- Child Abuse and Neglect Forms
- Home Study and Home Visit by the Social Worker
- Classes (In AL you are required to complete a 10-week, 30 hour class)
- Your home meets the state standards for eligibility to foster
3. What are the types of Foster Parents?
- Respite Parents - Provide short-term care for foster children. Respite trained foster parents can take emergency placements for a few days, weekend, or a week. When full-time foster parents need a break, have an emergency, or need to leave the state and are unable to take the foster children, Respite Parents provide care for their foster children.
- Full-time Foster Parents - Licensed to provide care for foster children in their home. The number of children allowed in the home is dependent on the size of the home and number of bedrooms.
4. Why are children placed in Foster Care?
- Neglect - When Social Services investigates a family for neglect allegations and the children are not in imminent danger, then they will often try to put services in place to allow the biological family to continue raising the children. If those services are not successful and there is no immediate or extended family available to care for them, then the children are removed from the home and put into foster care.
- Abuse - Physical and sexual. Allegations of abuse that have been confirmed result in the child being removed from the home.
- Drug or Alcohol Abuse - If the child is born to a mother addicted to drugs and tests positive for the drug, they are taken immediately from the mother and put into foster care.
- If a biological parent has all of their children currently in foster care and they become pregnant again, the child will immediately be placed into foster care upon their birth. (In the state of Alabama).