Being family = no strings attached.
That’s why we recruit adults who can make the same unconditional commitment to our youth that all families do.
We approach finding parents for our youth using our intensive, youth-centered approach. Unlike traditional recruiting, we first spend a great deal of time, energy and effort to discover people in a child’s personal circle who might be interested in making a permanent commitment to her/him. We talk with each young person and build trust with them to identify uncles, aunts, cousins, teachers, social workers, neighbors and anyone else the youth already knows, because we aim for as little disruption as possible in the child’s life. We also make every effort to locate and connect (or re-connect) youth to long-lost relatives–those who may not have been included in the youth’s planning throughout their time in care. A familiar figure, or someone with a familial connection, can often be the permanent family she or he needs. We then work with those identified to train, prepare, certify them to become foster/adoptive parents and support them in taking on the responsibilities of an unconditionally committed, lifetime parent.
Moreover, research shows that this method works. We have made successful matches in nearly 60% of youth referred through our various programs and the effectiveness of our approach was highlighted in the United Nation’s Committee of the Rights of the Child’s 2012 report. A peer-reviewed research article, An Examination of Theory and Promising Practice for Achieving Permanency for Teens Before They Age out of Foster Care, describes the success of our model approach.
If we are not able to identify a permanent parent within the youth’s existing circle, we then go through a targeted recruitment process. Many incredible adults from the general public have answered the call and have come forward to become adoptive parents to older youth in foster care. After we train, certify and prepare them for the foster/adoption process, we then work to connect them to them to youth and young adults in need of parents. Matches are always based on the needs of children waiting. First and foremost, the goal must always be to find a family for a waiting child–not to find a child for a family.
If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about what parenting a foster teen entails, please email or call us.
If your agency works with foster youth, please find out more about how we can work together.