For decades, the assumption among professionals who work with youth in foster care has been that finding a “forever home” for a child is a vital path towards successful life outcomes for youth living in the system. However, a new, comprehensive study has just been published by the Texas Institute for Child and Family Wellbeing that may well turn that long-held assumption on its head.
Though the Texas Youth Permanency Study will continue over the next five years, the findings thus far have revealed that having a permanent place to call home is much less impactful on the future success of a young person living in foster care than the youth having authentic relationships with their peers, siblings, and supportive adult figures, like mentors, case workers, and mental health professionals.
Of course, this only proves something those of us at KING have known for several years now: when responsible adults take a vested interest in the life of a youth in foster care, dramatic improvements can occur in the youth’s outlook on life, their resiliency, and their overall success in life both within the system and once they’ve aged out of care. Further, when youth in foster care are allowed to feel “normal”–to participate in the same extracurricular activities as their peers, to build stable friendships, to date other young people–they are far less likely to find themselves without the social safety net they need to live positive, successful lives as they transition into adulthood and independence.
KING is excited to see how the results of this initial study and the results still to come might alter long-held philosophy among professionals in the foster care system and we hope that the priorities of the system might begin to shift toward facilitating stable, authentic relationships for youth in foster care with people who will be there in times of need and who will provide these vulnerable young people with the care and support they need to become happy, successful adults.
Also, KING is always recruiting new music mentors! If you would like to make a direct impact in the life of young person living in the foster system, sign up to become a music mentor today! Or, if you don’t think you have the skills necessary to teach music, consider donating to Kids In A New Groove so we can continue our mission to serve Central Texas youth in foster care with completely free music lessons and mentorship!