If you have a heart for foster youth, but don’t want to deal with CPS, sign up for The Lost Youth Ministry newsletter at LostYouth@NuevoCommunityChurch.org. They send a once-a-month update on the former foster youth that they are assisting.
Or visit Lost Youth Ministry at http://www.facebook.com/LostYouthMinistry.
I can personally vouch for this group. I am a Lost Youth Advocate. A year ago in October I provided a home for a 20-year-old young woman who had been homeless since she was emancipated from foster care. The situation is tragic. This woman is among the 5,000 youth that age out every year in California.
Riverside County has about 500 youth that age-out of the foster care system. Over 250 of these precious young adults have no where to go. These 250 are on a waiting list for transitional housing. Transitional housing has only 60 apartments available. The wait list for these apartments is over a year. They make the largest population in prisons and homeless shelters. This is a national shame.
My girl stayed with me for a month then moved to her transitional housing. It was an apartment in Hemet. She has gone on to college. Only 2% of the emancipated youth go on to college, though they can go tuition FREE. The main reason is they lack basic life skills such as filling out job applications, college forms, rental agreements, paying utility bills and such.
In my girl’s case it was because she lived in 22 different homes. The lack of stability cut into the time needed to master basic grown up skills. Her traumatic upbringing has led her to obsess over being loved which has led her to being raped. Do you understand enormity of this tragedy? These wounded youth are now grown up physically, but severely emotionally scarred. My girl’s situation is not unusual. This is not the social worker’s fault. It is a flawed system. The social workers can not provide perfect supervision and protection at all times. We live in a fallen world. Please pray for these children and the adults from that were raised in this system.
If you would like to mentor a young adult into their first apartment, first job or first college class, you are GREATLY needed. They have no one. They are fending for themselves feeling unwanted. My girl has moved on, but she calls me often. She has never forgotten that no one paid me to provide her a home, drive her to appointments, teach her how to make pizza from scratch, take zillions of flattering photos of her, and include her on family fun trips.
As you are prayerfully considering mentoring a lost youth, I recommend that you Google “Rescuing Former Foster Youth” and review the many articles written by former foster youth describing what it was like to grow up without a “forever family.”
Another way you can help is to donate new or gently used furniture, appliances and housewares. They especially need dishes, eating utensils and cookware. These are ongoing needs as the youth is helped into their first apartment. There are more youth being helped. If you would like to teach cooking, mending, basic care for a variety of things, you would be welcomed to teach in their new apartment. They desperately need mentors.