May is foster care awareness month
–With Foster Care Awareness Month approaching in May, there’s never been a better time to address San Luis Obispo County’s foster care crisis. With nearly 400 children in foster care in San Luis Obispo County, the need for foster families is dire.
An insufficient supply of family homes to support foster youth means that an increasing number of California youth are aging out of foster care without a safety net. For youth who age out of the foster care system without the security of a nurturing family home, the statistics are grim. Within 2-4 years of exiting foster care, 20-percent will have been homeless, 50-percent will have been unemployed, 40-percent will have been incarcerated or on public assistance, 20-percent of males will become career criminals, 84-percent will become single parents, and 97-percent will never graduate from college according to the National Foster Youth Institute. These youth are also at greater risk for life-long mental health disorders: over half experience mental health challenges as adults and 25-percent are diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, about twice the rate of U.S. combat veterans, according to the National Council on Disability.
With California’s new Continuum of Care Reform act, group foster homes are being phased out, further amplifying the need for foster families and relative caregivers.
Every effort must be made to support biological, kin caregiver, and foster families, to provide loving and permanent homes for youth impacted by trauma so that they can heal and grow.
With our conviction that thriving families build a thriving community, Seneca Family of Agencies works to realize this vision by assessing and training prospective adoptive or relative families, carefully matching waiting children and sibling groups with families, and strengthening families with continuing education and hands-on professional support, including intensive counseling and mental health services through our children’s mental health clinics.
To learn more, reach out to Tina Lehman, Seneca’s San Luis Obispo Program Director at (805) 455-4702, firstname.lastname@example.org.