Teenagers don’t need families. They don’t even want families.
Sometimes that’s what people think. And if a teen actually expresses this sentiment, it is tempting to accept their statements at face value. This can lead to tragic consequences for young people in the foster care / group care system.
When young people leave the child welfare system with no family to count on, nobody they know is committed to them forever, the outcomes are grim. High rates of homelessness, unemployment, early parenting – you name it.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. When you don’t have a family, who teaches you even the most basic life skills? Who explains how to find an apartment, and be a responsible tenant? Who teaches you how to manage money? Or about the importance of brushing your teeth?
Youth in foster care and group care live in an unpredictable world in which they have no say over what happens to them. Strangers make decisions that profoundly impact a young person’s life – judges, social workers, teachers, lawyers, foster parents – people trying to do the right thing but who, at the end of the day, have no long-term commitment to, or responsibility for, the child.
At Plummer Home, we believe that all young people — including teenagers — need permanent families and we place a high priority on making this happen. For that reason, our group care and foster care programs place a high priority on connecting kids with permanent families. To be sure, we spend a lot of time teaching them skills and helping them connect with community — two other things necessary for success – but we never give up on finding family. This is as true for our 13 years olds as it is for our 21 year olds.
If you become a foster parent with Plummer, our goal is that you will be the last foster placement for that child. That doesn’t mean you will provide the child’s permanent home, but is does mean that you believe, as we do, that repeated moves are harmful. And that you will help us achieve the goal of finding a permanent place for your foster child. Our goal is a permanent family, one that doesn’t disappear when a kid turns a certain age. Parents are forever.
To learn more about fostering, call us at 978-935-9555 or visit us at plummerhome.org/fostercare. Your love can make all the difference. Thank you!