Do you believe it can get better even when times are tough?
At Friends of the Children, we call this “hope," and we work with every child in our program to believe in themselves and have hope for the future.
Chris* is 6-years-old and has only been in the program for one month when he was placed into care. He has two younger siblings (ages 4 and 3) who were placed in a different foster home. His Friend, Chai, was at the foster home within hours of getting the call from Chris’ mom and has been back multiple times to help with the sudden and scary transition. In a short time, Chai has built strong, trusting relationships with all the critical people in Chris’ life. His caregiver remarked how scared and quiet Chris had been, but then when Chai got there, Chris became a whole new child. Knowing that Chai was there for him — even when everything else had changed — was the highlight of his day.
Chai is committed to making sure that Chris has things to look forward to as he navigates life in his new foster home, including consistent time together every week. As Chris is learning new household rules and also staying connected remotely to his parents and siblings, Chai is walking alongside him every step of the way - using those opportunities to build his self-confidence. The two are also preparing for the journey ahead, which in the fall involves a new school and new friends. Times are — and have been — tough for Chris, but Chai is helping him see that things can and will get better. Now, Chris has hope.
We live these experiences with our youth daily. They have often experienced far too much trauma at a young age—through no fault of their own. They are often then re-traumatized by the foster care system — a system that is struggling especially now to provide the support children in care need.
As organizations around the country work to raise awareness about National Foster Care Month, we want to take this opportunity to celebrate youth in care as the heroes of their own stories. Thank you all for your support and commitment to Friends. We couldn’t do any of this important work without you.
*Youth's name changed to protect their identity