Do you have what it takes to be an Ambassador Family?
Approximately 9% of children in foster care in 2014 exited foster care at age 18 without an adoptive family. (AFCARS Report,2015) These children who “age out” of foster care often struggle to make their way in the world. Many speak about the poor outcomes for these youth, such as the high rate of emancipated youth who are homeless, unemployed, or in prison. What we don’t hear as often are the positive outcomes for youth in foster care who are adopted by a loving family. For instance, in a study conducted by Christopher Lloyd and Richard Barth, children adopted from foster care are 23% more likely to complete high school, are 22% more likely to be working, 22% less likely to be a teen parent, and 50% less likely to be arrested, than children who remain in foster care.
Intuitively we know that all children benefit from the guidance and love that a safe and stable family environment can provide. This knowledge, coupled with the favorable statistics cited above, underscores the need to find the right families who can provide safe, stable and loving homes that all children deserve to grow up in.
How do we find families for our kids in foster care? Over the years we have learned that the best ambassadors for finding families are those families who have already completed the adoption journey. With this in mind, Sierra launched its Ambassador Family program this past spring. As part of this program we ask finalized families if they will get the word out, speak to other families who are considering adoption, share their story, or be a mentor. We view our Ambassador families’ voices as vital to supporting our incoming families. They have come to our support groups and our trainings for potential adoptive families; they have spoken at events, and reached out to others in their community who may be considering adopting children from foster care. Our Ambassador Families voices ring true to others who are considering going down this path. We are grateful to these families who have been so open with their stories and their willingness to share their experiences with others.
If you are a family that finalized with Sierra and want to learn more about this program please call Erin Somers at Sierra Forever Families, 916-368-5114.