Stephen, who is now 18, has spent the past 11 years growing up in the foster care system. As a child, Stephen faced severe neglect and abuse and was ultimately placed into the permanent custody of the state. He lived for a short while in shelter care and was then bounced around from foster home to foster home, from group home to residential center; seven moves in all. When Stephen turned 18, he was faced with the prospects of being emancipated from (having to leave) the child welfare system with no place to go. The local public child welfare service contacted Kids@Home in order to support Stephen in his transition to living as an independent adult.
Stephen came to Kids@Home and was matched with a Life Coach and a volunteer adult mentor. He attended a retreat to reflect on his past and plan for his future. With the support of others, Stephen drafted a life plan that included his vocational, educational, social, psychological, spiritual and personal goals. This blueprint would not only guide Stephen during his time at Kids@Home, but for a lifetime.
Stephen then moved into his own apartment, which is supported by himself and Kids@Home. He has the use of a personal computer that acts as his portal in the pursuit of his goals.
How Stephen Spends His Time:
Work: Stephen works in a warehouse environment for a computer hardware company.
School: Stephen is currently taking an Information Technology course online. He works at his own pace, but must fulfill writing and testing requirements.
Relationships: Stephen is having some conflicts with his mom and younger brother. Since Stephen has moved into his apartment, his mother, an alcoholic, has been pressuring him to let her and Stephen’s brother move in with him. Stephen’s Life Coach, Melissa, discusses these issues with him daily online and meets face to face with him two to three times a week.
Independent Living (IL) / Lifeskills Training: Stephen does not own a car, so he uses public transportation. He participates in his IL training online. He has already completed the coursework in the banking, budgeting and financial planning module and is currently working on the time management module.
Free Time: This evening, Stephen’s Mentor, Jay, is taking Stephen to dinner and then grocery shopping. Jay keeps in contact with Stephen daily through the Internet and sees him about once a week. They both truly value this relationship.
Therapy: Stephen attends a group therapy session once a week in order to explore ways to manage his anger. Stephen is realizing that ‘getting in trouble’ as an adult is much more serious than his indiscretions as a youth. He emails his therapist during the week if he is having trouble with a specific issue relating to his anger or his therapy.
The Internet Service Delivery Model that Kids@Home is using in Stephen’s case affords him the opportunity to live in his own apartment, while still receiving the services, training, and personal support from caring adults around him. By living in a Kids@Home supported apartment, Stephen is able to learn the best way – by doing. Eventually he will transition into living on his own.
Stephen’s prospects for a brighter future have now been restored.
Stephen’s brighter future
Once Stephen graduates from the Independent Living Program at Kids@Home, he will take over the lease of his current apartment, maintain his current relationship with his mentor, and participate in Kids@Home’s proactive Community Support Services (aftercare).