Hi everyone! Happy Friday!
A few days ago, a reader (her name is Wendy also… thank you so much Wendy!) sent me this article – “Foster youth in California are no longer on our own at 18.” Words can not express how happy I am that at a state level foster youths are being considered. A flood of emotions came back as I read the article. What Precious Sims said is true. Even though I appreciate my foster mom very much, I felt that it was more of a business transaction than a loving and caring home that I saw in movies. The state paid her to take care of us and there were three of us in her home. She was a very sweet woman, but all of us knew that the moment we turned 18, there was another foster youth waiting to take our place.
Because the way the system is set up, both foster parents and youths find it difficult to emotionally invest in the relationship. It’s hard to call our foster mother “Mom” when we knew at 18 we would never see her again. We called our foster mother and father by their first names. If you asked me what changes I think the foster care system needs… I think it’s a very delicate and complicated situation. I believe the financial support is helpful and extending the aged-out limit is valuable. But I find it is more complex than that and I personally don’t think it can be achieved through financial support alone. I truly believe that what these youths (and I speak from personally experience) need is… love. I’m not talking about love that can be purchased. We know the difference between someone being paid to take care of us and someone who really wants to because they genuinely care. But is love something the system can provide? Throughout my foster care experience, I’ve had social workers, foster care counselors, and CASA advocates who all left. With high caseloads and turnovers, these people couldn’t stay on a particular case for too long. My foster sisters and I knew the moment they walked in that they would leave a few weeks later. And unfortunately, it happened. After I emancipated, I heard news that my foster sisters became pregnant and turned to the streets. I never heard from them again.
There is no simple solution to this issue. How do we reduce recidivism, homelessness, and pregnancy rates among those who are in and just emancipated from the system? I truly believe that at the core human level, these youths need someone to believe, to encourage, and to support them. Love. To love them. This love might kindle a glimmer of hope. This hope might ignite positive change. This positive change might bloom into confidence. And this confidence might pave a pathway to success. Financial assistance does not provide love, hope, positive change, and confidence. It is only secondary to the primary factor, which is the human connection. All it takes is one person. One person who can provide unconditional love and support without judgement.
If you’re currently in foster care, came from the system, and/or going through a dark time… these flowers are for you. Please stay strong.
Thank you so much for reading!
:: Outfit ::