My husband was a foster care child in the west coast. At the age of 18, he was
basically told to get a job and released from the foster home he Had been
residing in for over 12 years. It is to bad they didnt have a program like that.
His foster family was more interested in the money it provided. He had no other
choice than to relocate to another state to live with his grandparents and
bachelor uncles. They blamed him for everything and it was not a good situation
for him. I Hope that states make into account that at age 18 you dont have alot
of resources to make it. His dad died when he was 7 and his mom was not a part
of his life. He has turned out to be a good man, but i think states should take
into consideration certain factor when released they are released from foster
care. Not that he should have been on it forever, no but just lumping them all
together at age 18 and getting thrown by some states to the curb isnt Well
thought out either. Just my 2 cents worth.
Some years ago, our stake did a Youth Conference centered around foster care.
One of the youth speakers was a recent convert of about a year who was in foster
care. They talked about social service people just showing up and literally
giving them about 30 min-1 hour to pack because they were moving to another
foster home. Happened all the time. Or because they were being taken out of
their home to go to foster care. Except for the first time there was usually a
cop or two on the scene too. Still the foster care children only had
minimal notice and minimal time. They gave them a black garbage bag always for
packing. It was heart wrenching to imagine a child having to go through that.
The youth did a service project where they put together care
packages to give to local social service providers to give to the children after
their first foster care moves. They included games, contact information for
penpals, stuffed animals, nice age appropriate books, etc.
Great story about a great program! I hope their success will lead to many more
programs like it. It is easy to judge those who end up incarcerated etc but when
you get to know some of them you begin to see that with a little help at the
right time their lives might have turned out much differently.
Please do a follow-up story on what services are available for Utah children in
foster care wanting to continue their education. This was a very moving story to
me and the image of an 18- year old being dropped off with a black garbage bag
containing all of her/his possessions will stay with me a long time. Is there an
active program to solicit scholarship money? Is there mentoring? I worked my own
way through school, so I know it can be done, but support comes in many forms,
not just financial. I had a loving family and knew that if I couldn't make
it, they would do everything they could to help. However, tuition assistance in
the form of scholarships or grants, makes it more possible leaving the student
"only" needing to earn housing and food.