Last year San Joaquin County had approximately 41 foster youth graduate high school. With the loving support and friendship of caregivers, each and every one of them persevered over challenges.
Mistique (featured in photos) has overcome many hurdles in her life. She is a senior at Ronald McNair High School and is very active in extracurricular activities. She is Vice President of the Student Body, Head Cheerleader and Secretary of the Mock Trials, to name a few. Besides taking on leadership roles in school, she is active in her community. Mistique went to Oregon for a week to serve as a church missionary. Out of hundreds of applicants, she was one of six selected for a Kaiser Permanente Internship. As part of her requirements for this internship, Mistique chose her personal project to provide awareness to foster youth about the resources available to them. Mistique has connected with a foster youth Transition Specialist through the San Joaquin County Office of Education Foster Youth Services. Their work together will devise a system that will disseminate this information to foster youth in San Joaquin County. You are probably wondering what is next for Mistique, she plans to attend college or enroll in the army in 2020.
Mistique is an example of what can happen when hard work and dedication are met with love and support.
Foster parents (now known as Resource parents) are invaluable community members, who open their homes and their hearts to a child facing a difficult time. Resource parents serve as the anchor in a team of social workers, therapists and other specialists committed to helping children thrive.
Youth are placed in resource family homes after being separated from their birth parents, typically through no fault of their own. These community members provide the necessities that children need; compassion, nurture, and kindness. The Department of Children Services provides a modest stipend to supplement living expenses and ensures that foster youth have access to therapists and any other specialists they may need.
Sometimes foster youth are adopted by their resource families and other times, they may return to their birth families if the situation is improved. Another permeant placement option could be a relative or Non-Related Extended Family Member (NREFM) such as a teacher, God-Parent, close family friend et cetera. Regardless of the outcome, one thing is certain, foster youth lives are forever changed because of the kind acts of a caring community who step up to provide a safe home in their own neighborhood.
For more information about becoming a resource parent click here.