Fostering Hope Scholarship

Alabama’s FOSTERING HOPE SCHOLARSHIP is an investment in the post-secondary education and training goals of youth who were in the foster care system when they earned a high school diploma or GED, as well as those adopted from Alabama foster care after age 14. This comprehensive program covers tuition and fees for eligible students enrolled in a post-secondary certificate or degree program; additionally, it helps eligible high school students begin planning ahead towards achievable goals. For more information visit http://www.fc2sprograms.org/alabama-fostering-hope-scholarship/.

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Reflections from the Heart: Foster Care Awareness Month Series Pt. 4



From Cheyenne Pt. 4

"If you're a foster parent, start trying to help the kids who pass through your home. Push them like you would push your own child. Stop giving up when things get hard. When we see you give up on us it makes us give up on us. You know what the real world is like; teach the children in your home. It's never too late to create a loving, successful, human being. Foster children are not bad children. They deserve to be loved as if they are your own. If you can't love them like they're yours, then you don't need to be a foster parent.

DHR, continue trying to help. Pay attention to the kids in your case. Especially those you have in apartments. A foster child isn't always the quickest at asking for help. He/she isn't always just going to look at you and say, “I need your help.”  It's your job to check in and make sure they are getting all the mental, physical, and educational help they need. Sometimes it may seem like they are okay, but sometimes you need to look further. I only know this because I was a master at hiding my feelings from my caseworker. She thought I was becoming independent. She thought I was listening. Looking back, I wish I had been."
 
We cannot thank Cheyenne enough for her transparency in telling her story!  Want more?  Don't worry this is not the end of the series!  Cheyenne will continue to guest post for us throughout the year! 

childwelfare.gov/fostercare





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Reflections from the Heart: Foster Care Awareness Month Series Pt. 3


From Cheyenne, a former Alabama foster youth Pt. 3
For parts 1 & 2 click here and here!

"A foster child's entire life they dream about the moment they are free of the system. But the honest to God truth is, life after foster care is so hard. You always have that nagging feeling in your mind that nobody wants you. You still deal with all that mental baggage. You think moving from home to home is stressful. Wait until you no longer have those foster parents. You no longer have DHR to provide you with a home and clothes and food. Wait until you are in this world all alone not knowing what the next day holds.
No longer having a set routine. I should have taken advantage of everything foster care provides. Because now that I am out on my own and I never listened to DHR, I am having to teach myself how to cook, how to clean, how to fill out paperwork, how to talk to people. I have to teach myself how to control my anger because I can't afford anger management and I didn't take advantage of it when I was in foster care. I have to teach myself how to do everything because I was stubborn and didn't listen. In the real world you can't "fake it 'till ya make it.” The real world is harsh and will tear you down at the first mistake you make. In the real world you don't have DHR to help you out of difficult situations. You have to be an adult. You can't blame your problems on anyone but yourself. You can't call your GAL or social worker just because things aren't going your way. You have to do things on your own.
If you are a foster child reading this, take advantage of your situation. Learn everything you can. Stop being hateful towards your foster parents and listen to them. If you need anything, get it now. Learn all the skills you're going to need for the real world. Listen, listen, listen. Take it from someone who has been there and didn't listen."  TO BE CONTINUED

If you want to get foster youth more involved and help them build skills, register 14-16 year olds for Camp Life II!  bit.ly/camplife2
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Thank you Children's Harbor!

Major thank you to Children's Harbor who will serve as a venue for our 2018 Camp Life II for our 14-16 year old group!  Their camp site is not only beautiful, but spacious and accommodating for our youth in foster care and a great environment for them to relax and learn important life skills! 

 

Thank you so much for sponsoring us and allowing us to utilize your facility! 

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Reflections from the Heart: Foster Care Awareness Month Series Pt. 2


Cheyenne's Story Continued...Click here to read Pt. 1
"I was already close to being evicted from my apartment but DHR had helped me out of that situation; but I knew that wouldn’t happen again. The idea of being homeless terrified me. So I did what I'm best at and made an impulsive decision. While the lady couldn't actually adopt me (not sure why), we were able to sign a Permanency Pact stating that she understood she would be responsible for me. She would be my support system blah blah blah. Anyway, I impulsively moved in with this woman. I hardly knew her, but that didn't bother me. I hardly knew anybody I've ever lived with. It's not like foster children know their next move right? So anyway, from December 2016 to around September 2017 I was happy as could be. I thought I had finally found where I belonged.
Well, on Labor Day things took a turn for the worse and I ended up homeless. I was staying with a coworker and ended up losing my job. So then I was homeless and jobless. I ended up getting up with the niece of one of my former foster parents and she allowed me to stay with her for a while. I applied for a nanny job through a website online and ended up moving to Texas for a live-in nanny job, which is what I am currently doing."   TO BE CONTINUED

Cheyenne's story is like many foster youth across the state of Alabama and the nation.  At Children's Aid Society of Alabama our IL program teaches social workers and other adults how to utilize Permanency Pact's appropriately.  The most important face to remember is to utilize Permanency Pacts for trusted individuals, natural mentors and to discuss it DURING an ISP meeting to make sure there is enough time devoted to ensure the Pact is going to be beneficial for the youth involved.  For more information about the Permanency Pact and its use, go to FosterClub.com.
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Nsoro College Bound Summer Camp Accepting Applications!


 

Nsoro College Bound Summer Camp is June 24th-29th.   Applications will be completed online and all supporting documents must be uploaded before the application can be submitted.    Applications are due by May 7th.  Once an application is submitted we will conduct a phone interview to ensure that the camper is knowledgeable about the program and can demonstrate their willingness to attend and maintain good behavior. This year’s camp will feature interactive STEAM based curriculum that will include hands on experiential learning instead of the typical classroom style speakers we’ve had in the past. 

 

Please share this with all Social Workers who have foster youth that will be entering  9th-12th grade for the 2018-19 school year.  The application link is listed below.  They need to choose The University of Alabama in the drop down menu on the first question.  They will be required to set up an account and password prior to completing the applications.  Social Workers may do this for the campers but are encouraged to engage the camper in the application process to ensure they are well informed. 

Once a camper has been selected I will mail out additional paperwork that will be due by May 25th. 


https://nsoro.submittable.com/submit/89450/college-bound-program-application-summer-2018

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Reflections from the Heart: A Foster Care Awareness Month Series


 
"I'm sure you (the reader) are aware of the foster care statistics. Most of us end up homeless or in prison by the time we are 18. I aged out of foster care May 20, 2017. In December of 2016, I began to get scared. I knew by May I would no longer have DHR on my side. I was juggling two jobs and college with no vehicle and my mental health wasn't at its peak. I had ignorantly taken myself off of my medication believing that I could handle my mental health on my own, but I was quickly sliding downhill into the pit of depression. But I still continued not taking my meds and lying to my caseworker telling her that I had been going to my psychiatrist’s appointments and taking my medication. In my head I would be completely independent by May and I needed to learn to do that without medication. Medication in my opinion was just a prop. I had been taking meds since I was 5 years old and didn't realize how they actually helped me.

As the months flew by and it started getting closer to my 21st birthday, I began to panic. There was a lady that I had gotten really close to who was a nurse at a behavioral facility I was in when I was 12 and we had been talking and she wanted to adopt me. I wasn't comfortable with the idea to begin with. I had even told DHR years ago that I never want to be adopted. I had never really had a real family and the thought of having a family that wasn't mine baffled me. I just never believed anyone could love me, especially like a daughter. I didn't even know how to be a daughter. My only mother/daughter experiences had been quite painful and in my brain if my own biological mom can't love me then no one truly can. But this lady and I had grown very close. I claimed her as my mom and her daughter as my sister. I went with the idea of her adopting me, because I knew that as soon as DHR was no longer in my life, I would be homeless."  TO BE CONTINUED......
                                                                                        - Cheyenne Thomas

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Meet Cheyenne!!

"My name is Cheyenne. I'm 21. I've been in the foster care system since I was around the age of 10 or 11, and aged out when I turned 21. Since I've been out of care I've really tried hard not to become a statistic and I believe I'm doing a lot better than people thought I would do. I am now a full time Nanny, I write articles for IL connect, and I will soon start volunteering at an assisted living facility."
 
Cheyenne will be a guest blogger all month for IL Connect in honor of Foster Care Awareness Month.  Every week we will post something from her own words regarding her life in foster care and advice she has for others!  Thank you so much Cheyenne for your input, knowledge, wisdom and willingness to share your story with others!  We are so grateful for the lives you will change for your transparency!  
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May is National Foster Care Month

 
 
In honor of Foster Care Month we will be posting words from a former Alabama foster youth once a week.  Our greatest desire is to give youth a voice that will encourage those working with foster youth to make worldwide change and stand up for the awesome group of young people we have the privilege of serving everyday!

For more information about foster care, permanency and Foster Care Month go to www.childwelfare.gov/fostercaremonth

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Gear Up Birmingham 2018 Summer Camps


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