Finding A Home: What Foster Teens Want You to Know


ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — May is Foster Care Awareness Month and a recent study by The Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System estimates that there are over 300,000 children in the system and 27 percent are teenagers. But what do they want you to know?

“In one school year I was like, in three different places.”

Eighth grade was a hard year for Arionna Williams.

“I think that was not a good place for me, when I, mentally and stuff,” said Williams.

While some teens need a safe space for a short time, others are looking for a forever family but not everyone is willing to adopt an older child. In fact, 75 percent of foster kids who are adopted are younger than nine years old.

Raquel Bell has been working in foster youth for over a decade and said foster teens are often misunderstood.

“I think the biggest myth is that they’re troubled and that the system is taking care of their needs, we can’t expect any system to provide meaningful connection and support that has to come from people,” explained Bell.

Another myth is that foster teens don’t want a family.

“We all want family. We all want connection. And so for our foster youth, like being in a family is the normal thing for them. Foster care is not normal, and it’s not any place that someone should grow up,” said Bell.

Older single adults also hesitate fostering teens.

“Empty nesters are just like grandparents, for those kids and can actually provide them with stability. And also like wisdom too,” said Bell.

Although the road to finding a family is tough-Williams believes it’s all part of the building blocks to create a stable home.

“It is going to be like a part of your story and stuff and you can let it be a part of your story, but you just don’t let it like, affect you too much,” explained Williams.

Studies show only 58 percent of foster teens live with a family, compared to kids 12 and under at 95 percent.

Contributors to this news report include: Cliff Tumetel, Producer; Bob Walko, Editor, Matt Goldschmidt, Photographer

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