I was just reading about some reforms in foster care that are being considered in foreign countries like Scotland. The BBC News had an article about limiting the number of foster children per household to three. This makes a lot of sense to me, in that it would provide more individual attention per child, and help the foster parents more effectively deal with any individual issues a child may have.
In the case of our daughter, she came from a foster home that had seven or eight children in it, and now, as an only child, she has no idea what to do with herself. And the foster family never really got to know her as an individual. And neither did Jessica herself.
She was too busy trying to be what the group wanted her to be, and doing things they wanted to do. When we ask her what it is that she really likes, she doesn’t know. She hasn’t spent any time thinking about what it is that she wants and needs. Her sense of self has not yet been developed.
In a related story, the Miami Herald had this article, about a girl who just aged out of the system, after seven years She now has her own place, and is going to college. Actually, she has her place because she is going to college, and because a young affordabe-housing developer, Matthew Greer, convinced a state official that renting to college students didn’t violate a federal law that spells out who can live in housing that receives low-income tax credits.
She gets money to pay for her housing through the Road to Independence program established through the Chaffe fund and the education and training vouchers program.
The funds are available for former foster children that are enrolled in college and who maintain a 2.0 grade point average.
Matthew Greer, COO of the Carlisle Development Group, says that foster children are not good candidates for tenants, due to the lack of life skills that are learned during the foster care years, but that “they should not be doomed by being foster kids.”
So far, 21 youths are living at Santa Clara II, and there are potentially another 650 (the number of “aged-out” youth in Miami-Dade county) on the waiting list. Thank you, Matthew, for what you are doing…