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What life is like in foster care

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May is National Foster Care Month, but many of our youth are in foster care every day of the year.

With your support, youth in our Youth Development Program who have been in foster care or state custody through the Department for Children and Families (DCF) are transitioning to a self-sufficient and thriving adulthood and getting help with finding housing, finding a job, setting goals, building skills, going to school, and staying healthy.

We asked some of our clients to share a little about their time in foster care and the Youth Development Program.

Why do you choose to work with Spectrum?

“It would be stupid not to get connected. Every week or so I meet with my worker and it’s basically like having an older brother, like having someone who’s a couple years older than you who’s responsible. . . . They paid for guitar lessons for me. And it’s pretty cool because I can’t afford those things.

I like how my case manager is young and cool. Like if I see him out in public I’m not embarrassed. And I like seeing him at concerts. He’s someone I can relate to but still be professional with. It’s good because none of my friends are professional, they just goof around.

What kinds of relationships do you think young people need?

To have an older role model that’s the same gender as you. Because then you can have some sort of idea of what you want to be when you grow up. And everybody needs friends.

– J.

What are some of your goals?

I graduated high school in 2011, ever since I’ve been working—gotta pay those bills. . . . I’ve decided I want to go to school. My case manager helped me enroll in prerequisite classes for the spring. It’s nerve-racking. I’ve always been the homesick kind of guy if I go away for too long. It’s mainly that. And also that I may not succeed. I’m just nervous that I won’t take it too seriously.

Why do you want to be a vet technician?

Well, I’ve always loved animals. I grew up in a lot of foster homes before I was adopted, and it was always people with pets—that was the one constant in my life.

Who inspires you?

My parents. They inspire me because they adopted me. They adopted a lot of my siblings. They’re very reliable, hard-working people. I look forward, I guess, to being the kind of person they are. My parents have been married for 25 years. I want something like that when I’m older.

What wisdom would you share with someone going through a big transition?

Is “don’t give up” too cliché? Don’t give up. You may have a lot of dark times, a lot of trying times, but it always works out. . . . But you can’t just sit there and expect people to come to you—you have to go out and assert yourself.

– A.

And here’s a card from a current client who works with Meg in our St. Albans office:

Card from youth in DCF

With your help, youth in foster care in Vermont are getting the support they need to achieve their dreams. Thank you.

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