When I take time to reﬂect back upon the many accomplishments in the foster care system achieved over the past 35 years, I’m simply amazed. More eﬀective systems to support struggling families have been developed. The foster care system has been strengthened by increasing ﬁnancial support and by developing sensible licensing regulations. Every passing year has witnessed improvement of the foster care system.
In 1975, High Sierra Group Home, now TLC Child & Family Services, opened one group home for four teenagers with a staﬀ of two. We now oﬀer comprehensive, integrative services to over 600 foster youth annually, supervised by 130 employees and 155 foster parents dedicated to the care and well being of these very deserving children. Our Leadership Team is dedicated to the quality of services provided to foster care children and their families.
TLC’s mission is connecting every foster child to a consistent, stable family and a future. We are partnering with our communities and local governments to ensure that each foster child’s opportunity for success is equal to every other child’s. We have all heard, "the youth of today will become the leaders of tomorrow." But how do our children become those leaders? Answers vary, but most point to strong family connections and a child’s self-conﬁdence to forge ahead.
Without a sense of permanence and the caring guidance of adult, foster children are at high risk for signiﬁcant struggles later in life. Children without homes will often not complete high school. Children without love will substitute gangs and drugs. They may be under-employed or will have diﬃculty keeping a job. Without a stable adult in their lives, there is a 50-50 chance that they will be homeless or incarcerated within two years of leaving foster care.
Children are "freed" from foster care at the age of 18, often critically short of resources and essentially left to their own devices to manage their newfound independence. The transition to adulthood without support of a family and other resources is very challenging. The "average" 18-year-old youth from an "average" family receives ﬁnancial support of @ $42,000 for housing, education as well assistance and parental guidance until they are 26 years old. The "average" ﬁnancial support received by a foster child between the age of 18 to 26 is just $2,200, (Press Democrat, April 2007.)
How will these foster youth become good citizens of our changing communities? Will these children be the leaders of tomorrow? This is where you have the opportunity and power to eﬀect change. We have made some great strides over the years, but there is more to do and there are many more children that need our support, and yours, in 2008.
TLC Leadership Team of management and professional staﬀ are responsible for the innovative program development oﬀered to foster children and youths and their families.