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A bright future of her own

September 25, 2012

Stephanie’s not a typical 18-year-old.

She has a home, a job, two small children and takes business classes at a local college. She juggles all of it with minimal support.

Through assistance from the Youth Villages transitional living program, Stephanie has found a job and a good home for her two daughters. She has plans for a future.

“I had to grow up early,” she said. “Because of my responsibilities, I can’t do the things most 18-year-olds do, and I don’t want to.”

Stephanie was placed with her children in foster care following the death of her grandfather. She didn’t have a good experience in foster care, and after turning 18, was recommended for Youth Villages’ transitional living program.

Because her children were in state custody with her, she needed to provide a permanency plan and go through a 90-day home trial.

“I was extra motivated to do it on my own,” Stephanie said. “I was ready to get out of the foster home and find my own home.”

Stephanie found an apartment and learned quite a bit while in the TL program.

She found a job after submitting more than 50 applications, got a driver’s license and vehicle, and learned about money and time management.

Youth Villages, through a grant from The Day Foundation, began a transitional living program in 1999, to help children like Stephanie get a good start on adulthood in the crucial years between ages 17 and 22.

Transitional living counselors help young people learn to deal with the minor and major problems that come with adulthood.

“She worked very hard to find the first job,” said Paige Keisler, Youth Villages TL clinical supervisor. “Because of the economy, it was very tough to find the first job, but she didn’t give up.”

Stephanie regained full custody of her children, and during the hearing, the judge praised her.

“The judge said Stephanie’s ability to maintain housing, complete her GED and maintain transportation at her age should be an example to parents in their 30s and 40s,” Paige said. “He told her and the court that her success would be the standard others would be judged by that day.”

Stephanie recently returned from Florida, where she participated in child development training for her job at a daycare facility. She’d like her own home and plans to continue her college education. She’s determined, but patient – she has a lot to do now but when she discusses her future, she gets more excited.

“I’ve always done things on my own – it’s what I’m used to. I’ve got a routine now where everything sort of falls into place,” she said. “I’m content now to see where things take me, but I want a home. I want to have my own business. It will happen.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. Sheree Kimball permalink
    October 31, 2012 2:55 pm

    I truly wish this was the outcome for all of our Youth aging out of the Foster Care System. I will use this information for encouragement to the children I advocate for through CASA. This young lady is an inspiration.

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