The Nest—A landing place for Oregon's displaced foster children
The Nest serves as a safe landing place for children entering foster care who are out of options.
In the fall, we shared that Boys & Girls Aid was starting a new program called The Nest. We opened the program in response to news that displaced foster children were living in hotels, not attending school and not getting the support they deserved. Our goal was to get these kids out of hotels and into loving homes.
So we got to work and built a program. These were some of the highest needs children in foster care and we were ready to help them. On Nov. 1, the Nest opened. The program was filled with teddy bears, eager staff and excited foster parents.
And then the first six kids arrived. Fast forward one month and we had broken windows, multiple attempts to run away, one roof climber and foster parents who quit. We were not ready—not even by a long shot. Between ages 5–9, these children have experienced extreme violence in their short lives. When you put the facts together, they have collectively:
- Spent 4,347 nights in foster care
- Moved a total of 59 times—an average of a move every nine weeks
- Spent 91 nights in a hotel
- Have at least one parent incarcerated for drugs, domestic violence, identity theft, trafficking minors or murder
- Had a combined 429 adults in their lives
Of course they were ready to fight.Knowing the facts of these six children and their collective trauma, how could we not continue to serve these children with empathy, love and patience? More than six months later and we are seeing hope and happiness. On a good day, nothing gets broken.
One of the boys named Owen, 6, was reintroduced to school, joined an after school basketball team and went to a classmate's birthday party. Another child, Cedrick, 9, just went to school for the first time in his little life. And Diego, 8, has learned how to combat his waves of anger and is learning how to manage outbursts. He’ll be going back home to his mom soon.
We believe children are more than their collective histories and that they are strong, resilient and wonderful kids who are full of potential. As an organization, Boys & Girls Aid will not give up on children in foster care. We believe every child is one supportive adult away from overcoming their past and becoming a success.