Adoption Network Cleveland is currently developing a peer group and/or one-on-one support for young adults who have aged out of foster care and are exploring relationships with birth family members. There has been interest expressed in this program from our community, including by Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services.
Children who have experienced abuse or neglect have a heightened need for permanency, security, and emotional constancy and are, therefore, at great risk because of the inconsistencies in their lives and the foster care system. Tangible continuity in relationships with family and friends is essential for a child’s healthy development, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Many aging-out youth seek to reconnect with select members of their birth family and typically struggle through this emotional journey with no support, making them vulnerable to a variety of challenges. This program will focus on helping youth set healthy boundaries, maintain realistic expectations and navigate relationships. These skills will be instrumental to successful relationships in the future with these birth family members.
This group is in the planning stages and will launch in 2018.