Caring adults can make a difference in the lives of foster youth
posted by: Guest Blogger
Think about the things all kids deserve. A loving family. A warm, safe home. Caring adults to support them in school and teach them life skills. The chance to play sports, play music, do art and dream big. Opportunities to thrive and be successful in the future.
It’s easy to take these things for granted. But the unfortunate reality is many youth in foster care– through no fault of their own, but as unintended victims of poverty, parental incarceration, abuse, mental illness and substance abuse – don’t always have the safe, supportive and loving environment all kids need.
At Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth (SAFY) of Colorado, we work 24/7, 365 days a year to strengthen families and communities. So when kids can’t be with their biological families, that’s where foster parents come in. Foster parents are what we call “agents of hope,” a mentoring bridge between youth and their biological or adoptive family, which secures a child’s future.
In Colorado, there are currently 5,700 foster youth who need caring foster parents to provide a stable, supportive home environment. And the ways in which people foster are as different as the kids we serve. Some foster placements are for a short time, while other times children are placed with a foster family for longer periods. Some foster parents choose to foster and eventually adopt. There is a critical need for foster families willing to care for sibling groups, teens, LGBTQ youth, and youth who need extra care for trauma or other special needs.
If you have a longing to make a difference for children and be that agent of hope for foster youth in Colorado, visit www.SAFY.org to learn more about the requirements and licensure process to become a foster parent.
And if now is not the right time for you to start fostering, there are many other ways you can support foster youth. Donating to SAFY means you help cover basic needs like clothing, school supplies and toiletries; everyday needs like child care costs, extracurricular activities and youth enrichment; and complex needs including therapies for trauma and mental health.
They say it takes a village to raise a child, and for Colorado’s 5,700 foster youth, that village is needed now more than ever. We all have the opportunity to be that agent of hope.
By Jenna Coleman, Colorado Executive Director, SAFY
Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth (SAFY) of America is a national non-profit organization creating healthy youth and families through community-based solutions. Building upon our reputation as a leader in treatment foster care services, our comprehensive home- and community-based programs serve those with social service and behavioral health needs in seven states including Alabama, Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Nevada, Ohio and South Carolina. To learn more about our programs and services, call 800.532.7239 or visit www.SAFY.org.