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For thirty years, Friends of the Children has been empowering youth and families who have been impacted by the foster care system. Our enrollment process focuses on youth who are highest risk of entering, or who are already involved in the foster care system. 30% of youth in our program have experienced out-of-home placement and nearly 30% of caregivers have experienced foster care themselves. Our youth and family-led, trauma informed approach supports the health and well-being of children and families together with these goals in mind:

  • Promoting safe and well-supported children in families
  • Providing hope-inspiring services that mitigate trauma and promote well-being
  • Preventing further involvement with the child welfare system

OUR MODEL

In partnership with child welfare systems, schools and community-based organizations, Friends of the Children invites children ages 4-6 and pairs them with a salaried, professional mentor (a Friend) who stays with them from kindergarten through graduation – 12+ years, no matter what.

We work with partners to identify families along the child and family well-being continuum to ensure that our model is serving the children and families who need us most:

Ultimately we want all parents to have the supports they need to be the parents they want to be, and for all kids to get to be kids – living safely at home with their families.

ADVANCING FOSTER CARE OUTCOMES

  • Preventing Entry into Foster Care: Data from a 3-year pilot project show that when families at highest risk of foster care entry have a Friend, children don't go into care: Not a single child with a Friend entered the system.
  • Shortening Lengths of Stay: In an exploratory outcome study, children invited into Friends from foster care experienced lengths of stay 6 months shorter than a like comparison group.
  • Reducing Foster Care Re-Entry: Data from a pilot project show that in families that are reunified - no child with a Friend has re-entered the foster care system within 24 months.

CELEBRATING LIFE OUTCOMES

Friends of the Children has developed a strong reputation based on the achievement of proven, measurable outcomes for youth facing the greatest challenges. We don’t just achieve strong program outcomes – we celebrate lasting life outcomes for young people. Young adults who experience involvement with the foster care system and who graduate from the program achieve our three long-term outcomes at the same rate as all our program participants – remarkable results considering the national statistics for youth transitioning out of foster care:

  • 83% of youth with Friends graduate high school, while 55% without a Friend graduate high school;
  • 93% of youth with Friends avoid the juvenile justice system, compared to 74% without Friends avoid the juvenile justice system;
  • 98% of youth with Friends avoid early parenting, while only 74% without a Friend wait to parent until after their teen years; and
  • In addition, while young adults who've experienced foster care are just as likely as their peers to have college aspirations, only 32 to 45 percent pursue higher education after high school. At Friends of the Children, we celebrate the fact that 92% of our program graduates go on to enroll in post-secondary education, serve our country, or become employed in a living wage job.