Everyone needs a helping hand. Even kids who think they’re all grown up.
Imagine you’re 18 again. Were you ready to take on the world at that age? Wasn’t there more than a little trepidation about handling your newfound “adult” status… on your own?
Most of us likely had parents or family members able to help us find a place to live (and maybe pay the first month’s rent), connect us with job prospects or finance further education… or simply be available to show us the ropes and help us make responsible decisions.
Youth aging out of the foster care system often don’t have that kind of homegrown safety net.
In fact, statistics show young people who have been in foster care may face additional challenges as they navigate adulthood. They may be less likely to get a high school diploma, G.E.D. or college degree. They may face periods of homelessness, have more experience with the criminal justice system, be unemployed — or under-employed, making too little to live on or not getting enough hours to qualify for job-provided benefits. The chances for an unwanted pregnancy are higher, too.
The Omni Family Foundation aims to provide youth transitioning beyond foster care a surer path to successful adulthood with these essential efforts:
- Helping youth secure stable futures through housing, skill building, and relationships.
- Grounding them with continued case management and other supports, experience, and education.
- Ensuring youth have a safety net they can rely on.
- Building a foundation of hope and healing.
Our vision for the kind of long-term independence that enables young adults to thrive starts with:
- Expanded access to quality housing for those without family or other supportive adults who can offer a place to call home.
- Quality educational facilities that can offer former foster care youth, as well as those in extended care (an option up to age 21), life skills programs that allow them to “learn by doing.” Workforce development — designed to help youth gain the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to get good jobs — is also a key part of our approach.
- Partnering with STEM Scout labs which provide re-imagined, creative ways to learn about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by giving youth opportunities to interact with professionals in regular hands-on lab sessions. These unique, thought-provoking classes have the potential to spark new interests and, more importantly for someone coming out of foster care, a career path they might never have imagined.
- Meaningful support to foster parents during this transitional period, with assistance for resources or services not already provided and paid by the State (such as what a parent would provide to a child leaving home to take their first job or go to college: clothes, luggage or transportation).
We look forward to sharing our vision for the Omni Family Foundation’s work — Contact us to find how you can be a part of it!