Youth transitioning out of foster care without a permanent home or family support face significant challenges including experiencing homelessness. (40% of the homeless youth in Oregon report a history in foster care.) Nationally, only about 10% of youth in care enroll in postsecondary education and only about 3% obtain a degree in comparison to 40% of their peers. In addition, there is an overrepresentation of youth of color, LGBTQ-identified youth, and youth who experience a disability in the foster care system.
In an effort to prevent youth homelessness and help young people thrive, PDX-Connect addresses the many needs of youth transitioning from foster care—from basic life-skill development and mental-health support to education, job training and placement, and more. Bringing services directly to youth where they live, our Life Coaches provide the consistent presence their clients need to realize their individual goals, navigate government systems, and successfully transition out of foster care into adult life.
Additionally, thanks to a grant from the Lamb Foundation, PDX-Connect has been able to provide access to experiential learning activities for foster youth in the community, including indoor rock climbing, kayaking, skiing and camping. Through activities like this, youth further develop the internal assets that are essential to success in developing life skills, improving school performance and transitioning into adulthood. “I’ve seen youth go above and beyond through these opportunities,” says Life Skills Coach Frannie Root. “They have grown in so many ways. I have watched them push their comfort zones, socialize more, gain increased self- confidence and learn that something has to be taken on step at a time and that you might not get it on the first try!”
If you’d like to learn more about PDX-Connect and the many services the program provides for youth transitioning out of foster care, go to http://newavenues.org/our-services/self-sufficiency/