Imagine turning 21 and finding yourself without the support of a family. The vast majority of older children in foster care are never adopted and instead “age out” of the system – a transition that leads to alarming rates of unemployment, homelessness, and incarceration. So Family and Youth Initiative, working annually with 25-30 foster youth ages 12-21, makes sure they don’t have to face the world alone. Groups of young people and adult volunteers come together in comfortable environments: over shared meals, in bowling alleys, at softball games. Over time, with FYI’s support, teens with traumatic pasts learn to trust again and adults see their stereotypes about foster youth melt away. A variety of relationships naturally develops: one-on-one mentorships, “host families” who welcome youth for regular weekend visits, and official adoptions. This program is, quite frankly, life-changing. Since 2010, no participant has left foster care without a loving adult in his or her life, and 22 youth have found adoptive families. What does family mean to these kids? Asked on the day of his adoption, one participant responded: “Everything.”

Headquarters: DC-Ward 6

Where They Operate: DC-Citywide

Age Groups Served: Youth (5-11); Pre-teen/teen (12-17); Young adult (18-24)

Ethnic Groups Served: African American


  • Number of adults who have participated in program activities and gotten to know teens in foster care:   100
  • Percentage of active teens who are matched with a mentor:   65%
  • Number of teens with finalized adoptions this year:   Two
  • Number of teens moved in with adoptive parents this year (adoption not yet finalized):   Three

Awards & Recognition

Fair Chance partner agency, selected spring 2014

Press

Budget (FY2014)

  • $3 million or higher
  • $1 million to $3 million
  • $500k to $1 million
  • The current budget for Family and Youth Initiative is: Less than $500k

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