Friends of the Children's Work Along the Continuum: Caregivers Impacted by Foster Care
Did you know that approximately 30% of caregivers who say “yes” to having a Friend in their child’s life have experienced foster care themselves?
Parents Impacted by Foster Care Fast Facts:
In 2019, more than 20,000 young people aged out of foster care without permanent families. Young adults who have experienced and/or aged out of foster care face incredible challenges due to the compounding impact of trauma, systemic barriers and lack of social capital. Young adults impacted by foster care who are parenting have their own unique challenges. According to a recent study, children born to youth in care are at a higher risk for Child Protective Services (CPS) involvement than any other population: 53% are reported to CPS by age 3, compared to just 10% of the general population. Having come to the attention of CPS – and often living without proper support – these families are at risk of a continuing cycle of CPS involvement and poor long-term outcomes.
Friends of the Children as a Strategy for Caregivers Impacted by Foster Care
In our last email, we talked about supporting all caregivers in a child’s life so that families can be successful when their foster care experience comes to an end.
Now we come full circle to revisit Friends as a prevention strategy – this time for caregivers who themselves have experienced foster care as children/young adults. Our 12+ year model uniquely positions us to build rapport with caregivers, especially those impacted by foster care themselves and who have their own trauma histories. Inspired by the opportunity to promote child well-being for a next generation, beginning in 2018, Friends of the Children began working intentionally with community partners and foster care systems to invite young parents impacted by foster care and their children to join the program. For good reason, the caregivers impacted by foster care often have significant distrust of systems and public institutions. Many are also socially isolated from other supports or peer groups.
Hear one of our caregivers share what it's like to be a parent who has been in foster care and is a now a parent herself in this video:
Friends meet caregivers impacted by foster care where they are – building relational trust, parenting skills and networks of positive peer and community support. Caregivers are also empowered to recognize and challenge the external conditions that have gotten in the way of their aspirations. Celebrating caregivers as the experts, Friends empower them to be agents of change in the local systems they are most affected by, particularly the child welfare/foster care systems. With our amazing youth and families leading the way, we are excited to be part of meaningful and sustainable change in the child welfare system.