It’s time to bust out your inner Buddy the Elf and spread some holiday cheer this year by putting smiles on the faces of those in need. With approximately 424,000...
For many kids, turning eighteen is an exciting milestone consisting of graduating high school, becoming an adult, and beginning the next chapter. For foster youth, it may feel more like being pushed out of the nest into the unknown, which can lead to feelings of anxiety and self-doubt. Aging out of foster care can be scary and supporting youth at this time is of the utmost importance. As many of our customers are absolute heroes with their contributions to the foster system, we’ve compiled a list of things both agencies and foster parents can do to help ease the transition.
- Create a 5-year plan: Nobody likes feeling like they are shooting into the dark. Taking an hour to put together a five-year plan can alleviate any stress or uncertainty. Set personal and professional goals which can cover anything from income and grades to how often they want to be exercising to stay healthy. If 5 years is too daunting, a 3-year plan will do.
- Celebrate graduation: Kids will be less stressed about what comes next if they can focus on their accomplishments. A graduation gift, gathering, or even just praise will go a long way in keeping a positive and hopeful mindset.
- Help with employment and/or higher education: Regardless of home situation, no kid has it all figured out (even if they think they do!) Check in with them to make sure they have all their ducks in a row for employment or college, or both! Do they have a resume? Do they need help finding a job or interview practice? Have they declared a major or do they need help deciding? Have they selected their courses or met with a counselor? A helping hand is crucial for supporting youth aging out of foster care.
- Donate items you no longer need: At this point, many are moving into their own apartments or dorms, and they are on a limited budget. Now is the time to go through that storage closet and purge what you don’t need. Often, there is something collecting dust that could be utilized by foster youth: blankets, bedding, towels, office supplies, sewing materials to repair clothes, and first aid kits, to name a few.
- Find mentors: Mentorship programs are crucial at this period. A child with guidance will likely feel more supported and make better choices. A mentor that has experienced the foster system is worth their weight in gold.
It is not easy for kids to age out of foster care. Going the extra mile to fully support our youth will provide both instant and long-term results and set them up for success.