Treatment Foster Care Programs Help Kids Learn Skills and Gain Independence

Moving from a group home or a vulnerable family setting to a foster home can be challenging for young people, especially if they have never been exposed to living in a traditional family environment. “When they come to us for foster care many of these children don’t know what it’s like to be part of a family and the rules that may apply there,” says Marcia Fisher, Administrator of Adoption and Permanency Services at Children’s Aid and Family Services. “Things we take for granted like set meal times, keeping a room clean, doing laundry all need to be taught; at our treatment foster homes, for kids aged 5 to 18, they are learning important life lessons from specially trained caregivers.” Even life skills like food shopping, eating in a restaurant and setting goals for their future are learned, she says, so their time spent with caring families who help them learn these skills is invaluable.

For children over age 13, various monthly topics such as career advice, budgeting, college opportunities, job interviewing, vocational options, internet safety and other topics are a part of the program. “We had a young person recently inquire about becoming a nurse so we connected her with someone who could help,” says Marcia. This opportunity allows them to plan their future, guided by programs and supportive leaders who can help them pursue their interests.

Last fall a workshop titled ACTIV8 CRE8IVE Flow was offered to the children which included creative group workshops with a mix of self-reflection and hands-on-activities such as drawing, writing, jewelry making, dance and juggling. “You see different sides of kids through different mediums,” says Marcia. “And with the act of creative flow they can see for themselves where they shine. Any chance for them to be together as a group in activities they enjoy that help them to open up and share is a positive thing. And they had fun!” Age-appropriate Youth Empowerment topic discussions were also included and featured healthy self-esteem, positive body image and safety in social media.

Our goal is to introduce our children to a wide range of opportunities, igniting their curiosity and empowering them as they plan for their futures.

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