- Foster Care , Latest News
- January 18, 2022
Learn about the importance of fostering & adopting a teen from Illinois Foster Care
In the state of Illinois, and throughout the country, there are many teens in need of families through foster care. Some need short-term homes, some need long-term or adoptive homes, and some need homes that will care for them not knowing what their future holds in terms of whether they can ever return to their families of origin. Without a family to care for them, these young people are thrust further into a limbo that can have lifelong effects on the outcomes of their lives.
At Let It Be Us, the child welfare agency I founded and for which I work, we specialize in recruiting parents to foster and/or adopt teens. One of the most interesting things that families who parent these kids tell us is that they still have a lot of firsts ahead of them. From a first Thanksgiving dinner table to a first family vacation. From completing a first job application to organizing a school binder. Taking a first driving lesson. Celebrating birthdays. These are kids who have missed a lot. A whole lot.
At Let It Be Us, we have recently begun a new program focusing on parenting and raising teens called Springboard to Adulthood. The program serves young people ages 16+ and matches them with families. The Springboard to Adulthood Program offers wrap-around services that help both parents and the young person navigate their journey, additionally improving outcomes.
Some people worry about finances. While most states offer something, the state of Illinois provides for children in foster care, even teens, through a stipend that continues through adoption till the age of 18 or high school graduation. And young people who have experienced foster care have the opportunity to attend college through a state school for free.
In working at Let It Be Us for seven years now, I’ve learned about and met a lot of teens that have been cared for and nurtured by new families in placements that our team has made for them. First hand I’ve seen how these young people are resourceful in solving their own problems yet shine in the opportunities to be accepted into a new family. While spending their childhoods and adolescence on the winding roads of life alone, they finally have a family to gently welcome them to the stage of life where one needs all the help one can get. This time in life is so important. This time literally sets the stage for the future.
It’s most important to remember that all children and all teens, who have ended up in foster care have done so through no fault of their own. They have been abandoned, abused, neglected, or all of those things, by those who are supposed to care for them. They got a really bad start, but they can have a much better finish. Anything is possible.
Let It Be Us is hosting a series of ongoing special virtual events for those interested in fostering or adopting a teen in Illinois. These events feature experts and special guests along with a lot of important information. These events are a great way to start to explore fostering or adopting a teen. Information and registration is available on the Let It Be Us Events Page.
Click here to see some of the teens & children in need of a home right now in our Waiting Children’s Gallery.
About Let It Be Us
Let It Be Us is a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the landscape of foster care and adoption in Illinois. Our mission is to inspire foster care and adoption so more children in care grow up in stable, healthy homes. Funds raised will go to programs that build the strong and innovative bridge between our waiting children and foster and adoptive parents. Learn more at letitbeus.org
Susan McConnell, DSW(c), MBA is a parent of four free range young adults, three by adoption. She has 30+ years of experience in open adoption. Susan is the founder and executive director of Let It Be Us, a nonprofit and Illinois licensed child welfare agency focusing on foster care and adoption. (www.letitbeus.org) She is the chair of the Illinois Statewide Foster Care Advisory Council’s Permanency Committee and a member of the national organization Voice for Adoption.. Her doctoral work at the University of Southern California’s Suzanne Dvorak Peck’s School of Social Work focuses on adoption and permanency within foster care. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.