YOUR SUPPORT HELPS LAUNCH NEW INDEPENDENT LIVING HOME FOR YOUTH AGING OUT OF FOSTER CARE
It was a quiet snowy night, but as bags were unpacked, there was excitement, hope, and maybe a few nerves. Two teenagers were settling in and meeting the team at their new home.
And as everyone celebrated over a welcome dinner of takeout pasta and breadsticks, it marked the beginning of a new chapter – for each of the youth, and for DABSJ.
The new residents were part of the official launch of the newest DABSJ program, Independent Living Plus, which serves youth aging out of foster care.
More than half of all youth in Michigan who age out of foster care do so without any kind of support behind them – no adoptive parent or guardian, no crucial safety net as they make that pivotal transition into adulthood and living on their own. Research has consistently shown they face heightened risks, including homelessness, human trafficking, and incarceration.
You have made it possible for youth in this vulnerable position to instead live in a circle of support on the DABSJ campus, with access to a coach, therapy, psychiatric/medical care, and more. They may pursue education, jobs, and goals such as getting their driver’s license, learning to grocery shop for themselves, or budgeting and paying rent. You are helping them rewrite their futures.
“To know that there’s a place for you changes things,” said Jules Kusneske, ILP Program Supervisor. “That feeling of being welcomed and having a purpose. It’s so hopeful.”