Have you ever wondered what happens to foster care youth who age out?
As part of National Foster Care Awareness Month, I have been doing what I can to share more information about the US foster care system along with nonprofits that support foster care youth and families who are part of the system.
To close out National Foster Care Awareness Month, here is information about organizations that are addressing the needs of foster care youth who age out of the system.
I first learned about Saperia Dreams through a post on Instagram and then I was able to connect with Patricia directly. I was moved by her story and her passion for supporting foster care youth who age out of the system.
Saperia Dreams is located in Covington, GA and their mission is, “to bridge the gap of homelessness to permanent housing in an environment youth can overcome trauma and build life skills that will help formulate a life of independence and emancipate successfully.”
The programs offered by Saperia Dreams include mentoring, a “dream closet”, and local outreach.
They also have a really innovative program in their Saperia Dreams Transitional Home. It’s goal? To provide a safe, stable, and supervised living space for youth ages 18 – 24.
There are a variety of ways to support the Saperia Dreams mission, so please take a look at the ways you can help to see if one is a fit for you.
Fostered Bridges, located in Kansas City, Missouri, is a new nonprofit on the scene so they are still in a lot of planning stages as they work hard to support their mission.
I learned about them on TikTok and was intrigued because, like Saperia Dreams, they seek to provide housing solutions to foster youth who age out of the system.
According their website, the mission of Fostered Bridges is, “to empower individuals who have once been a part of the foster care system in pursuing their future goals by providing unique, individualized services that build bridges toward their future independence and stability, while working each day to identify new ways to combat the homelessness crisis.”
I am a huge fan of tiny homes, so I feel it is important to feature this mission-in-progress organization, because they are addressing an urgent need in their community with their program.
A Brief Interview With Co-Founder Dakota
So I contacted Dakota, one of the co-founders, with some questions to learn more straight from the source.
C2D: What drew you and your co-founder to this community need specifically and how did you determine which services would best suit your area?
Fostered Bridges: Taye herself was adopted at a young age, which sparked her interest in this community.
She recently came in contact with her biological mother after seeking assistance from local news in her hometown; she found out her mother had aged out and been in a situation very similar to some of our clients when she had become pregnant with Taye.
This solidified her passion for the community and the specific issues that made her mothers life so difficult.
As for myself, as soon as I turned 18 I began volunteering with Royal Family Kids Camp, a camp for abused and neglected foster children, and later interned at the Missouri Office of Child Advocate.
These experiences exposed the issue to me, and when trying to figure out how to expand my impact, rather than just talk about issues, I realized the outcomes for those exiting the program were devastating.
My roommate was super into tiny homes, I saw a few villages, and from there just began building a program.
Taye joined me in that endeavor after I had fleshed out the basics and we’ve continued to flesh out the program we have ready to implement today
C2D: What’s the timing on when the services and villages will be available?
Fostered Bridges: I hope I can get you a more direct timeline soon, but funding is an unpredictable thing.
We have applications in for grants that would fully fund our program, and could come back within a month in which case we could begin immediately.
The best direct answer would be our construction timeline would be approximately one year after being fully funded, we could have our 35 tiny homes constructed.
Our outreach center is currently being funded as a separate venture, or extension of our housing services. Construction on that center would take about a year as well, but is our secondary funding priority on a large scale.
C2D: How long do you anticipate a client will be a part of your program and how will you measure success?
Fostered Bridges: Our clients will be in our program for a span of two years. We have brought in a Professor of Social Work from UMKC who will be building research directly into our program to measure success on a number of levels.
Our high-level goal for our clients would be sustained independence. This, to us, means having established a network within the community of resources, mentors, and opportunities that those leaving our program will not need to rely on our program, or programs like ours, in the future.
Rather than providing services that would encourage clients needing to return regularly, we will work with existing community resources.
How Handmade Can Help Fostered Bridges
Since clients will be in their tiny homes for two years, Fostered Bridges welcomes donations of any handmade item that would enhance someone’s day-to-day living.
I don’t know about you, but when I hear that I get kind of excited because the options become limitless. If there is a new project you want to try, this might be the perfect time!
To get you started, here are some ideas of things you might make and donate to Fostered Bridges:
- Kitchen towels with inspirational or sassy sayings
- Reusable snack bags or reusable sponges
- Key fobs
- Throw pillows
- Lap quilts or no-sew fleece blankets
Let’s Provide Foster Care Youth A Path To Success
Without a support network, many foster care youth who age out of the system have very limited options. This is why organizations like Saperia Dreams and Fostered Bridges are so important.
The programs and transitional housing solutions both organizations offer will provide their clients a path to establish themselves as young adults and become integrated into a community that wants to see them succeed while providing the tools and resources to do so.
I hope you are inspired to support Saperia Dreams, Fostered Bridges, or a local organization in your area like them.