How we can help children leave foster care for good

 

Boys & Girls Aid works to secure lifelong connections for every child in Oregon. Regardless of age or background, we believe children belong in families that are permanent and stable. While every child deserves a family, not every child has a family. Between the ages of 0 to 23, we have a focus on making sure every child has a lifelong adult connected to their future.

When a child enters foster care, they enter having experienced abuse or neglect on some mental, physical or emotional level. Foster care is intended to be a temporary arrangement that provides safety and time to fix mistakes. Each year, roughly 8,000 children in Oregon are in this situation. Too often, these children leave foster care more damaged than when they entered. And for hundreds of children, their time in the system is more than temporary.

Without a focus on foster care, children in the system face an invisible achievement gap that creates devastating outcomes. Compared to their peers, foster children will transfer schools more, change homes more, and have meaningful adults exit their lives more. Adults who spent time in foster care make up a larger portion of the dropout, homeless and incarcerated population.

We are the only organization in Oregon committed to finding lifelong connections for children in foster care. We believe in foster care as a temporary solution and that when children exit the system, they leave for good.

We focus on the mental, physical and emotional well-being of children while they are in foster homes and ensure they are placed into a forever family that will continue to help them grow. A lifelong connection means one school, one home and one family. It’s our solution to the achievement gap for foster children and it’s a solution we believe will create a better future for all Oregonians.

 
Ryan Imondi