Making Aging Out of Foster Care an “In” Topic

Imagine being 18 and on your own, with no family and no support system. That’s the fate that faces many youth aging out of foster care. Many states, including New Jersey, have upped the age to 21. Here’s why:

aging outTransitional youth, youth in transition or youth aging out of foster care are all terms for a group of young adults in the United States who need special attention. After being in the foster care system due to neglect or abuse, these individuals now face another major challenge. Ms. Claudia Rowe of wrote about a young woman named Lane, “She spent the three years from 18 to 21 trying, and failing, to find a foothold. She worked as a day laborer, dabbled with selling drugs then went back to couch-surfing. At 21, Lane won admittance to community college with a GED and full-ride scholarship, but soon dropped out, overwhelmed by the pressures of living on her own as an adult when she was, by most measures, still just a kid.” What if Lane had the opportunity for three additional years of support? Continue reading

Kinship Caregiver Challenges – Where to Turn

Kinship Caregiver Challenges & Concerns

kinship caregiver challenges

Photo by Ricardo Santeugini

Kinship caregiver challenges are very similar to challenges faced by foster parents, but the emotional impact of raising a relative’s child is unique. While foster parents make a conscious, well-planned decision to take a child into their home, kinship caregivers often have to make the decision quickly and without preparation. Also, because the child is family, there are complex emotions that kinship parents must cope with, including being torn between the needs of the child they’re caring for and, in many cases, the wants of their own child.

There are many topics of concern that kinship caregivers face; here is a partial list: Continue reading

Homeless Youth in College Receive Assistance in NJ

Homeless Youth in College Cite Textbook Costs and Hunger as Threats to Earning a Degree

As announced in a previous edition of homeless youth in collegeNews From The Heart, Foster and Adoptive Family Services (FAFS) received a generous grant from the Dreams R Us Foundation in December 2013. Portions of these funds were dedicated to ease the burden on homeless youth in college in New Jersey. Certain statistics indicate that the numbers of homeless or transitionally housed youth has risen by over 50% in several years. Some governmental programs help pay for fees and tuition for homeless youth in college but do not provide finances for requisite textbooks or other educational requirements. Of course, like most things, the price of books has continued to rise over time.

“Textbooks are hefty bills that amount to a knot in my stomach and an injury to my savings, instead of incredibly interesting and useful resources,” explained one applicant to the Breaking the Housing/Textbook Barrier Initiative. Once the student’s application was approved, FAFS and the Dreams R Us Foundation received a note saying, “My textbooks are no longer reminders of the financial sacrifices I make to stay afloat in college. I see them as sources of expertise, a way to broaden my interpretation of the world, and what my future career opportunities can be.” Continue reading

Re-homing: One Word, Many Challenges

How and Why Re-Homing Began


Photo by Gabriella Fabbri

Re-homing or re-homed are new words for many individuals. A simplified definition of re-homing is utilizing the internet to pass off adopted children to someone else. Many times this is done callously. Sometimes this is done across state lines. Too many times this is done with no official research about the receiving individuals. This is not a happy story, but it is one that needs broader attention. Continue reading

Child Abuse Prevention: Statistics & Ways to Help

Children are placed into foster care due to abuse and neglect. Child abuse prevention is everyone’s responsibility.

child abuse prevention

Photo by Doriana_s

If we told you that every day of the year, over 1,800 children are neglected or abused in United States, would you be inclined to believe it? Unfortunately, you should because there were more than 678,000 confirmed cases of child abuse in our country last year. Continue reading

Kinship Care in the United States: An Overview

kinship care in the united statesThe number of children in kinship care in the United States is growing. This shift has led to new challenges for families and the development of special programs to meet their unique needs.

Across the United States, many aunts, uncles, grandparents, other relatives and family friends are providing care to children who are unable to live with their birth parents. This method of care is commonly referred to as kinship care. Relatives and family friends, who are known to a child, can often help ease the pain and sorrow of separating from a parent by offering a safe and nurturing environment. Continue reading