In Observance of Black History Month: A Message from the Chair of the Board of Directors
As I reflect on Black History Month, 2023, I’m reminded of how far we (Blacks/African Americans) have come. I also do not take it for granted about how far I have personally come as a Black alum from the foster care system. Resilience has been a common and enduring theme throughout my life.
My sister and I spent about 2.5 years in the foster care system back in the mid-late 80s. It was a system that was very different from today’s system (or maybe not for some). The system was steeped in breaking up families, adopting Black and Brown children into White homes, severing ties with biological families. Long term foster care was the standard plan for many children and their families at that time. Permanency goals were typically long term foster care and/or adoption - not reunification.
My sister and I were removed from our single mother’s home due to her addiction to crack cocaine and neglect when I was about 13 years old and my sister around 10 years old. We initially were placed with our biological maternal grandparents. Our grandparents always acted as a safe haven for us when our mother would be evicted from our home or when we were homeless.
Unfortunately, we were removed from our grandparent’s home because they believed in physical discipline. We then moved in with our pastor and his wife who became certified foster parents for us. As much as they were great caregivers for us, our mom felt threatened about our placement with them and sabotaged this placement because she was afraid they would adopt us if she did not successfully complete her drug and alcohol treatment program. We were then removed and lived with a certified foster parent in our neighborhood.
After our mother completed her treatment program, we were actually reunified with our mother. Our mother then went on to finish her AA, her undergraduate degree, and then her Master’s Degree. She also became a WA state Child Protection social worker for over a decade advocating for children and families like ours.
22% of youth in care are Black but only account for 13.6% in total population compared to 43% of youth in care are white and account 49% total population.*
So my story is both typical and atypical compared to other Black children who have experienced the child welfare system. We remained together as siblings in each placement. We were placed with relatives and extended family. We were placed in a certified foster home with a seasoned Black woman in our neighborhood. We maintained connections with our mother with weekly visits and continued to connect with our grandparents and pastor. We were never removed from our schools or community. Lastly, we reunified with our mother.
Sadly, this was not the norm back in the late 80s, or at times, even today. Far too often, Black children are removed from their parents and extended family unjustly. Far too often they’re removed from their communities and their supportive networks. Far too often they’re placed in homes with White families or other families who are not accustomed to supporting Black children and meeting their cultural needs. Today, Black children experience poor outcomes and linger in foster care far longer than their White counterparts.
African-American youth are over 1.23 times more likely to age out of foster care without a family than are their white peers.**
As we celebrate Black History Month this February and acknowledge our ancestors and their accomplishments, I want to encourage us to remember it is incumbent for us to remain vigilant about Black children and their families. We must continue to strengthen family connections and provide services prior to removal. If removal is inevitable, we must exhaust all resources to support their parents and extended families to strengthen their village. We must remain committed to seeing every child leaves the system with a relationship to a caring adult and forever family. This is the commitment FosterClub has made to every child currently in the system and for those who have left. Until every child, especially Black children, are thriving, we are failing our entire future. Ase.
D’Artagnan Caliman Alumni foster care Advocate FosterClub Board Chair
Projects looking for founding:
- Open an Encouragement Center by June 21st 2021
- Reconnecting foster kids with their biological parents in 2021
Chances of Success
We believe that success starts with comprehensive planning. We act as a role model and parental figure by taking our kids to colleges and getting them what they need to enroll and be successful in school. This hands-on mentoring and monitoring program ultimately teaches these teens how to "walk on their own." Our five-year plans include:
Choosing a School | Choosing a Major | Graduating On Time | Setting up Weekend Courses | Discovering Interests | Housing | Employment | Banking & Financial Services | Services for Teens with Children | Relationship Mentoring | Blended Family Mentoring
posibilidades de éxito
Creemos que el éxito comienza con una planificación integral. Actuamos como un modelo a seguir y la figura de los padres llevando a nuestros hijos a las universidades y obteniéndoles lo que necesitan para inscribirse y tener éxito en la escuela. Este programa de tutoría y monitoreo práctico enseña a estos adolescentes a "caminar por su cuenta". Nuestros planes quinquenales incluyen:
La elección de una escuela | Elección de un comandante | Graduación a tiempo | Configuración de cursos de fin de semana | Descubrir intereses | Vivienda | Empleo | Servicios bancarios y financieros | Servicios para Adolescentes con Niños | Relación de Mentores | Mentores de familia mixta
Hello Beautiful 3FN Supporters!
We would like to invite you to Holman Church's Annual Black College Summit 2019! As we continue to provide tangible resources to our youth, this is a great opportunity for foster youth to meet admissions staff and students from remarkable HBCUs. Since only 3% of foster youth have historically graduated from a college or university, this event can help make a significant dent in that statistic. RSVP soon!
Who Qualifies for Support?
Kol-Pol Community Services Inc. specifically assists young teens, starting at age 14, and supports them through their transition to adulthood by approximately 23 years of age. Our main target is foster children, children in the state system, homeless children, and generally troubled youth. To qualify for the program you must be in the foster care system or approaching emancipation from it.
¿Quién califica para el apoyo?
Kol-Pol Community Services Inc. ayuda específicamente a los jóvenes adolescentes, a partir de los 14 años, y los apoya a través de su transición a la edad adulta por aproximadamente 23 años de edad. Nuestro objetivo principal son los niños de crianza, los niños del sistema estatal, los niños sin hogar y, en general, los jóvenes con problemas. Para calificar para el programa debe estar en el sistema de cuidado de crianza temporal o acercarse a la emancipación de él.
Right now we're looking for a building that can act as our "home base". We'll use it to teach people what's in each room of the "home" and learn the basics of taking care of themselves. Surviving and thriving on one's own depends on these essential skills. We'd like a single-family home or a warehouse up to 5,000 square feet. Please contact us if you have any connections to an available building or if you'd like to make a monetary donation. We are also working on opening up an afterschool program that monitors a child's attendance at school. Access to the program would require proof of attendance and punctuality to encourage kids to participate in school.
We care about our generous supporters and want you to know that every donation is important to us. Depending on your level of financial support, we're offering t-shirts, gift cards, or floor tiles with your name on them in our future building. This is an opportunity to get your name out there and be rewarded for giving back. Give us a call to learn more or if you would like to be an anonymous donor please feel free to send your donations to 6704 Halm Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90056.
Blended Family Mentoring
• Family afterschool involvement--have fun!
• Removing the word "Step" from Stepfather or Stepmother is key.
• Being able to view family dynamics and the family as a whole: by taking the kids out to dinner & getting to personally know them!
• Family Night: each family night, the child gets to choose an activity!
• Vacation together--anything, anywhere matters: a museum, park, & so much more!
• Graditude-filled family involvement!
National Foster Care Day
Dedicated to the all the children in the U.S. foster care system, National Foster Care Day on the first Tuesday in May encourages everyone to wear blue and raise their voices to show their support for foster youth everywhere.
Kicking off Foster Care Month, National Foster Care Day provides a platform to help repair a system that is plagued with shortages nationwide. Many enter care with little to no belongings and have suffered the effects of abuse, poverty, neglect or even the death of their loved ones. There is a nationwide shortage of foster parents and stipends that don’t cover the essentials of a growing child.
With over 400,000 children in the foster care system at any given time, and a new child placed into care every 2 minutes, the need for support services, essential items and foster parents is high. Foster children have an uphill battle with startling statistics to overcome and need the support of our communities across the country. National Foster Care Day shines a light on these children and points us all in the direction of solutions.
• 250,00 children enter foster care each year
• Only 50% of youth in foster care graduate high school
• Foster children suffer PTSD at more than twice the rate of US war veterans
• 1 in 5 foster children experience homelessness within 1 year of aging out of care
• At ages 17 & 18, one-third of young women in foster care are pregnant or parenting
• More than 70% of inmates incarcerated were at one point in the foster care system
• Stipends don’t cover the essentials of a growing child