Two Degrees of Separation
I was at the dentist the other day making small talk with my new hygienist. She asked me what I did and I said I worked at Sierra Forever Families. I told her that Sierra believes that every child needs a family who can provide love, safety, and unconditional commitment. To my surprise, my hygienist told me she had grown up in foster care. I asked her if she had found a forever family and she said no. Although she did stay with one family while she remained in foster care, she never was adopted. She aged out at 18 and had to make her own way.
I am so impressed with my hygienist’s success. The outcomes for youth who age out of foster care are not good. Within 2 to 4 years of emancipation, 50% of the youth have not completed high school, are unemployed, homeless, pregnant, in prison or dead. On the other hand, if a child in foster care does get a forever family, the outcomes are positive, with most finishing high school and finding employment.
Knowing what it is like to grow up in foster care my hygienist told me she was interested in becoming a Resource family for a youth in foster care. She knows what it’s like to navigate the world without that family to come back to when things get tough and she wants to make a difference in one child’s life. She started asking me a whole bunch of questions about how everything works today, how old most of the kids are who are in foster care, why so many kids are in foster care today, and what they need. I told her to come to one of our orientations where we cover a lot of the answers to these questions. I hope she comes, as there are over 3,200 youth in foster care today in the greater Sacramento area. They all need stability, safety, and unconditional commitment. Are you able to provide hope and love for a child in foster care? Like all kids, these children need families. Learn more about becoming a Resource Family by visiting our website at SierraFF.org.
Written by M.