God Helps Those Who Help Themselves

Posted by GVT Admin on May 22, 2024 12:06:15 PM

Foster Youth and their social worker

Ask anyone in child welfare about foster youth aging out of the foster care system and you’re sure to hear about everything from high rates of incarceration, early parenting, homelessness, unemployment and mental health issues. You will also be told about the very high rates of homelessness among former foster youth ages 18-25.

The System Can't Save Them

Child welfare agencies have done their job after they find foster homes for homeless children until the children age out of the system. The child welfare bureaucracy does not concern itself with how children are prepared for adulthood and stability after foster care.

  • Within 18 months of emancipation, 40-50% of foster youth become homeless.
  • Nationally, 50% of the homeless population spent time in foster care.
  • A history of foster care correlates with becoming homeless at an earlier age and remaining homeless for a longer period.
  • 65% of youth leaving foster care need immediate housing upon discharge.

Foster Youth Are Not Delinquents

Foster youth are not, repeat NOT, juvenile delinquents. In fact, youth come into the foster care system because of abuse and/or neglect in the home, or because of the death of their parents when all other suitable guardians from their biological families cannot be located or do not have the resources to care for them. Once in the foster care system, foster youth are placed in homes with complete strangers that sometimes are just as dysfunctional, if not more, than the homes they were removed from. They move from home to home, foster family to foster family, and often from school system to school system, an average of twice a year. Often, they are labeled with a behavioral disorder and prescribed medication upon the slightest of evidence that they may not be easily controlled due to their emotional reactions to being removed from their family. Foster youth are victims, not perpetrators.

Foster "Adults"

Given all they go through, foster youth are amazing people. In fact, some foster youth manage, through a combination of personal grit and some exceptional mentors, to do what every foster child deserves to have the opportunity to do: they achieve. They get an education. They pursue careers. They buy homes. They start their own families. They start their own businesses. They vote.

Leah Angel Daniel

Leah Angel Daniel grew up in the Buffalo, New York, foster care system. She understands firsthand the challenges and obstacles that foster care youth face. Leah was fortunate enough to be mentored and loved by people who helped her find her purpose in life. She went on to found Fostering Greatness Inc. to assist participants like her who have lived and shared a foster care experience. Her goal is to support her fellow foster care alumni in taking control of their lives by assisting them with access, opportunities, and community support to obtain the resources that they need, and deserve, to be their best selves.

Leah's "Call to Action"

"My call to action is asking alumni of foster care of all ages and all backgrounds to step forward and out of the comfort of anonymity to be involved in a movement that will allow us to pool our resources to create opportunities for our brothers and sisters in and from the foster care system... We are alumni successes. We cannot allow the negativity associated with foster care to drown out our accomplishments and diminish our value to our communities, to this country, or to this world."

Fostering Greatness Inc.

Fostering Greatness Inc., a 501(c)(3) grassroots organization founded by Leah and located in Western New York, assists transitioning foster care youth with life skills, housing stability, education, and career advancement, personal and professional development, leadership development, and full optimal health management.

Fostering Change Network

The Fostering Change Network that grew out of Fostering Greatness Inc. is building a global network of “alumni” of the foster care system. "Through the legitimacy and the mutual respect that can only come from a deeply felt, shared experience, we are building an alumni network of career professionals, business and social entrepreneurs that stretches to every US State and to other countries. We believe that when young people who have aged out of the foster care system can identify with positive role models and peers who share their experience, they will be able to identify what success could look like for themselves, and they will be empowered to strive for it. Fostering Change Network seeks to provide the collective mentorship and professional guidance needed so alumni of foster care can unite to create solutions for themselves."

Helping Themselves

Participating foster care alumni are a bright example of the adage "God helps those that help themselves".


Topics: Child Welfare, Foster Care

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