• Tasha Matthews, Peer Advocate

In a Constant State of Flux

I was at a gala once, helping to raise money for an organization dedicated to helping foster youth, and the most common question I found people wanted to ask is “how many placements were you in?” Even when I would get scholarships from certain funders during college, that question would once again arise: “how many homes did you get moved around to?”

Even so, for so many youth, it’s the change in schools and all that comes with it from friends, teachers, and team members. For others, like in my case, it was a constant change in social workers. These changes can be challenging without support.

Feeling that you are in a constant state of flux is something that foster youth can be all too familiar with. Some people adjust to it after it happens for a while, and some people never get used to it, sometimes, a little part of them laments alone. The frequent transitions in county social workers for me meant that there could never be a way to build trust with the agency. For some, the change in dynamics of a new foster home can take its toll, and it makes it incredibly hard to grow close to anyone.

To add to that, for those foster youth who are turning 18, the transition to adulthood can be extremely difficult as you don’t necessarily get the privileges of help like many of your friends who might not be in foster care get from their network of support. Figuring out paying for rent, working, college, laundry, bills, etc. can be incredibly daunting.

First of all, I just want to say that the constant changes are not always fun and the feeling you have towards those changes, fluxes, and transitions, whether it’s frustration, resentment, sadness, or anything else, is completely valid. You have a right to feel upset by this, especially because it’s not in your control to make those final decisions, even if it makes an awful lasting impact on you. And growing up is something that naturally springs up on us.

So here is something I will suggest, especially if these things haven’t been mentioned to you as a resource quite yet: if you are foster youth in San Diego County and need an adult in your life who can be a constant in your life, I would recommend asking your lawyer about having a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate). These volunteers have the ability to be on your side; their job is essentially to be there for you and hear what you have to say. The judge will listen to someone who can see what you are going through and it’s nice to have a helpful and supportive advocate rooting for you.

Some of you may have had a CASA already and felt like that wasn’t the most ideal match. That’s okay! Try it out again, it will likely be completely different person than before and it might be a perfect match for you!

Another resource for those transitioning to adulthood in San Diego is Just in Time for Foster Youth (JIT)! Need help with finances and budgeting? JIT. Need help with getting a permit, driver’s license, or a car loan? JIT. Thinking about career development? JIT. Need furniture for your new home? JIT. They are basically doing such a huge service for you all who are passed 18 and need that resource! Click here if you are wishing to get started.

All in all, transitions are tough, but you will get through it. Sometimes, it just takes a little extra support that can make all the difference.

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    © 2016 by Children's Legal Services of San Diego