Through the Eyes of a Child

Most of us can’t imagine life without our families. They are the people who are always there to help us celebrate our successes and our failures. They are who we turn to for a word of advice or a shoulder to cry on.

 

Because a family is more than flesh and blood. It’s having people who love you unconditionally. It’s a support system that helps each of us along life’s journeys.

 

Yet, thousands of children across South Carolina have never understood the meaning of a family. They have never felt the safety and security of a loving home; they’ve never experienced unconditional love… but they also haven’t given up on it.

 

These children are waiting, wishing for a family of their own. And, for the first time, they are speaking out about it. Through a series of videos produced by the South Carolina Heart Gallery Foundation, select children in foster care are telling the world about their lives, their interests, and what they are looking for in a forever home.

 

Here is what a few of them have to say:

 

“Just because things don’t go your way, that doesn’t mean you just give up on the world.”                  

–Derrick, 16 years old

 

“I’m nice, kind, and gentle…I’m not asking for much—just to have a good family.”   

–Devonte, 17 years old

 

“Someone taught me [three things] that help me every day: A. learn from your mistakes, B. if your day is going wrong, hope for a better one, and last but not least, treat others the way you want to be treated.”  –Kyle

 

“It would be a good family, if I just had the right family—that I’ve never had before.”

–Deon, 14 years old

 

The South Carolina Heart Gallery Foundation supports the work of the South Carolina Heart Gallery, which is a collaborative program administered and supported by the Foster Care Review Board, Office of the Governor and the South Carolina Department of Social Services.

 

Foster Care to College

This month on the blog, we’ve been talking about education as it relates to foster care and adoption. (It seemed only appropriate during the time of year when children are getting back to school.) But as August comes to a close next week, we’ll finish off this segment with some former foster youth who made it to college, courtesy of the media outlet Texas Politica.

 

We love their unique insight on transitioning to college, tuition waivers and the value of higher education—and we hope you will too.

 

FCYWMITC

photo by: Callie Richmond

“I’ve pushed myself more and more every day, making sure I have the education I need, because I know that without education I have nothing. I don’t have family I can reach out to. This is it for me. If I don’t succeed educationally, I have nothing.”  — Kasandra Robertson

 

FCYWMITC_2

 photo by: Callie Richmond

“The institutionalization of foster care is so detrimental to a young person’s mind. It’s like a prison. Education is key. It is key for understanding yourself, for improving your future, for rising out of the socioeconomic status of poverty. And as we know, poverty is the key to recidivism, the key to drugs, to pain and hatred and not understanding. I chose to rise above it.”  — Corey Vollette

 

FCYWMITC_3

 photo by: Callie Richmond

“I struggled my first semester, and my grades reflected that. However, the endless support from the previous foster parents did ease my anxiety and made things a lot easier once I got a hold of the whole ‘college thing.’ … I’ve always lived my life by this motto: It’s better to live to a life of ‘oh wells’ than a life of ‘what ifs.’ Go to college, even if it’s for a semester. Try it out, learn some new things and meet some new people. Obtaining a degree is monumental and a huge confidence and morale booster.” — Elijah Sullivan

 

*Source: http://texaspolitica.com/?p=55215&utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=slideshow-foster-care-alumni-who-made-it-to-college

 

 

Education: Adoption vs. Foster Care

It’s that time of year again: new backpacks, notepads, pens and pencils. As kids around the country prepare to say good-bye to summer vacation and get back to school, we thought there no better time to talk about just that: getting an education.

 

In a 2006 paper titled “The Value of Adoption”, Mary Hansen of American University explains that the human services cost of adoption is about half the cost of long-term foster care for children whose birth parents’ rights have been terminated. Specifically in relation to education, she notes the following statistics about children who are adopted from foster care, compared to those who remain in foster care:

 

- Their educational progress improves by 50%
- They are 21% less likely to be suspended or expelled from school.
- They are 23% more likely to complete a GED or high school education.
- They are referred to special education half as often.

 

When it comes to college, there are all kinds of programs in place to help adopted children pay for their education. The idea is that parents who adopt older children from foster care odo not have as many years to save for the child’s college education—which makes sense.

 

For example, youth who are adopted from the foster care system at age 16 or older may be able to access Education and Training Voucher (ETV) assistance, which provides up to $5,000 per year for youth who are in college or at an accredited vocational or technical training program. Visit the Foster Care to Success website for more information.

 

Likewise, children who were adopted from foster care at age 13 or older are considered on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be an independent student, which means they don’t have to count family income and are more likely to qualify for financial aid. Check out this Voice for Adoption fact sheet for more information.

 

The South Carolina Heart Gallery Foundation supports the work of the South Carolina Heart Gallery, which is a collaborative program administered and supported by the Foster Care Review Board, Office of the Governor and the South Carolina Department of Social Services.

 

Sources:http://w.american.edu/cas/economics/repec/amu/workingpapers/1506.pdf, http://www.nacac.org/adoptionsubsidy/factsheets/tuition.html