FOCUS

Few of the 23,000 youth who age out of the foster care system each year have adults in their lives to listen to them, encourage and guide them, and keep them accountable.

They often face isolation, stigma, shame, or invisibility in their own communities.

Without permanent families or strong community connections, what should be a gradual transition to adulthood is instead an abrupt loss of support and a future of extremely poor health, educational, and social outcomes.

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FOCUS changes that trajectory by providing the space and opportunities for young people to establish deep, meaningful relationships with a small team of consistent, caring adults.

Young people who age out of foster care have the same aspirations and dreams as their peers.

They want to explore their interests and develop their talents and skills; go to college, get a job, or live in their first apartment; be a part of and contribute to their community.

They express a strong desire to have people in their corner cheering them on, recognizing their accomplishments, comforting them through hard times, and supporting them when they hit the inevitable setbacks.

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In addition to the team volunteers, people in the broader community share their networks and connections to help youth achieve their goals and contribute to their community.

By the end of their time in the FOCUS program, youth participants will be an integral part of their community.

They will be seen and known in a number of circles, and will enjoy a sense of belonging.

In turn, the community is made richer by the talents, vibrancy, and unique perspectives of these resilient young people.

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