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New program to help foster care alumni reconnect with family

Young adults aging out of foster care can now to turn to Adoption Network Cleveland: The Ohio Family Connection for help and support reconnecting with select members of their birth families.

Adoption Network Cleveland is kicking off a new service, Reconnections, that uses a peer group and one-on-one support for young adults in foster care. The program focuses on helping these young adults set healthy boundaries, maintain realistic expectations and navigate relationships in an effort to make reconnecting with birth family members successful.

"We understand the challenges young adults face when dealing with reconnections and developing relationships with family," said Donikea Austin, youth services program coordinator for Adoption Network Cleveland. "We want them to know that they aren't alone and that we are here for them. We're here to help provide a safe space and support them through these times."

Research indicates that many youth aging out of foster care sometimes struggle with the emotional journey of re-establishing relationships with some family members without a support system.

Reconnections is among a handful of the organization's services that are part of its Foster Youth and Foster Alumni Hub, with programs that support youth and teens in and aged out of foster, providing them with life skills and helping prepare them for adoption and/or adulthood.

Reconnections has one-on-one support available today and will begin forming a peer group that plans to meet bi-monthly in the coming months.