As the Executive Director of Mountain Circle Family Services (MCFS) and in keeping resource parents and stakeholders abreast of the new reforms called CCR (California Care Reform), I want to talk about permanency for older foster youth. This new push for reform is all about permanency for foster youth of all ages, specifically the youth aging out of the system. MCFS, since I have been the Executive Director, has always been about permanency; obtaining our adoption license in 2001. MCFS facilitates about 15 adoptions a year for mostly young children and this is a wonderful and powerful advent for change– giving children a permanent home and reducing the number of children in care. Since 1998, the number of children in foster care has been reduced by 43% (CCR NewsFlash #6) and MCFS is proud to be a contributor to this decrease, but the number of youth aging out of care, meaning turning 18, without a family has not decreased. About 4,000 youth a year leave the foster care system without a family or a home leading to higher homelessness, incarceration, low rates of employment and education…… (Take pause and let that sink in for a minute). This is heartbreaking news to me! MCFS has recently assessed and taken a hard look at our roadblocks and gaps to aiding the reduction of youth leaving care without a family or home and we need your help!
I am going to get a little personal here for a minute, but I believe it is prudent and relevant. I have a daughter, who is turning 18 on January 12, 2017. She is a confident, bright, and a strong young woman, and she told me the other day, “Mom, I am not ready to live on my own.” This really hit home, how we as a society then somehow expect our foster youth, who are vulnerable, exposed, and definitely weak in the resource department, are expected to really live on their own in– their own apartment at the age of 18 and be successful.
MCFS has renewed our commitment to these youth and are driving a recruitment push to develop either our existing resource homes or new resource homes to become, as it is popularly called, Host Homes, for these youth. I have been a social worker since 1993 and I tell you my favorite group to work with are these budding, independent youth. This group of youth is vivacious, determined, and witty, however, they need a family, support, and a connection to resources. My heart has a softness and a weakness for this age group.
Additionally, MCFS is in search of a young couple possibly needing intern hours for their MFT or MSW license to be house mentors to youth who are age 17, as these youth cannot live on their own until the age of 18 and do not have a family to live with even in foster care. MCFS will pay room and board (food not included), provide intern hours up to 40 hours a week, and possibly a part-time job as a social worker for our agency. This couple would mentor these young youth into independence and provide a Big Brother/Big Sister role. Approximately, 3-5 youth may live in the home at a time. If this plea resonates with you as you read this or you know the perfect couple, please contact us!
I am challenging our readers, who are current resource homes and those who are interested in becoming a resource home to take a look at our Host Home program, open your home to a young adult in need and let us change that opening statistic of 4,000 youth leaving care without a home and a family. Let us dare to be different and let us be a part of value and enhancement. This is MCFS, we are a value driven agency and are committed to ensuring change. Take this challenge, YOU will not regret adding a healthy, young adult to society.
Questions about fostering, adoption, or becoming a host home where you live? Contact our local office!
Mountain Circle’s Chico Foster Care and Adoption Office:
Mountain Circle’s Greenville Foster Care and Adoption Office:
Mountain Circle’s Susanville Foster Care Office:
Mountain Circle’s Nevada Foster Care Office: