WHEN FOSTER YOUTH LEAVE THE FOSTER CARE SYSTEM AS YOUNG ADULTS, they continue to need supportive adults in their lives. Support is especially important when making the transition into the real world—going to college, finding housing, getting a job. Taking these steps is not easy, especially when there is no one there to guide a young person. Youth who have a permanent family can count on their parents to help them navigate their way into productive adulthood. Young people who do not have a permanent family still need close connections with caring committed adults who will be there for them when they need it.
The Youth Connections Program (YCP) is a youth driven, youth lead program dedicated to working with youth who would like to have permanent connections with caring adults. The program best serves foster youth 14 years and older, who have had 2 or more family case managers, and express that they no longer desire to be adopted. Exceptions to these criteria will be considered on a case by case basis.
The YCP specialist partners with the youth and his/her family case manager to find appropriate supportive adults. Once a supportive adult has been identified, the YCP specialist facilitates connections between the youth and the adult to help them build a strong relationship. The adult may be a relative with whom the youth has lost contact, or a teacher, coach or minister. For example—someone with whom the youth would like a closer relationship and who has the resources to help the youth. Some foster youth may not have anyone in mind—they may have lost contact with relatives or been in a group home for an extended period of time. In that case, the YCP specialist will turn to a list of volunteers interested in being a permanent connection for the youth.
There are many ways a caring, committed adult can help a youth, including:
|* Offer a place to stay in emergencies|
* Assistance with managing money
* Someone to talk to about problems
* Help with health issues
* Help finding housing, schooling, work
* A place to do laundry
* Advocacy, motivation, mentoring
* Occasional transportation
|* Emergency cash|
* Help with clothing, meals
* A home for the holidays
* Spiritual support
* Safety and personal security
* Use of the computer or phone
* Help with paperwork, complex forms, legal documents
* Recreational activities
* Help with relationships
* Help managing a household
* A link to community resources
For more information about the Youth Connections Program or to find out more about being a permanent connection for a youth, please contact us:
Youth Connections Specialist for Northwest Regions 1, 2, 5, 8, 9
302 W. Washington St., E306, MS-47
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Youth Connections Specialist for Northeast Regions 3, 4, 6, 7, 11, 12
1928 S. Dixon Rd.
Kokomo, IN 46902
Work: (765) 618-6485
Lora (Denise) Odone
Youth Connections Specialist for Southern Regions 10, 13 – 18
1784 E. Jefferson St.
Franklin, IN 46131
Work: (317) 552-9935