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From foster care to Friends

William, Age 10, Tampa Bay, FL

William* is a child in our Tampa Bay program. He is a bright, vibrant third grader and is actively involved in sports. His story is mixed with utter resilience, heartbreak and hope. His Friend Josh has been by he side since kindergarten. William is an amazing and resilient child who has experienced his share of tough circumstances, including being placed in foster care. William's biological mother, who struggled with substance abuse, has not been present since his birth. His father's whereabouts are unknown.

William lived with his aunt and uncle for a short time, where he struggled continuously with behavior issues. After about a year, William was removed from his aunt's care and placed back into foster care. He would then experience multiple placements and school changes, which had a profound, noticeable effect on his behavior and school performance.

When William was just 6 years old, he was selected for the Friends of the Children program and was paired with Josh, a salaried, professional mentor called a "Friend." Throughout all of the transition and heartache in William's life, his Friend Josh has remained by his side –- empowering him as a consistent presence, always locating him and ensuring that he maintained regular weekly outings and school visits.

William was eventually adopted and Josh was there for him throughout the entire transition. Early on, Josh and William's adoptive mother formulated a plan to ensure stability and consistency in William's life, as well as continued academic and behavioral progress.

William's behavior in and out of school continues to show significant progress. But this is only the beginning. William will have a Friend -- a consistent, caring adult -- by his side until he graduates from high school.

Learn more about how Friends of the Children's model supports children in foster care on our Foster Our Future page.

*Youth's name changed for privacy