Every foster child has a story that begins with loss. Loss of innocence, loss of family, loss of security. By the time a child becomes a teenager, his or her story is much longer and full of significantly more loss. Here is the story of Shannon VanderArk, a woman who spent the majority of her childhood in the foster care system. She reminds us that all foster teens first started as children with a unique story of abuse, trauma, and neglect, and that all foster teens have the potential to heal if cared for in a safe, loving, and understanding environment. Click Here to read her story and be inspired.

For more information or to speak with your local foster care liaison, Click Here.

 

Resources for Caregivers of Foster Teens

Connecting Teen Program
Teen Connecting Program is a prevention-focused program specifically for foster parents, relative caregivers, and teens in foster care.
The Mockingbird Society
The Mockingbird Society is dedicated to building a world-class foster care system that ensures the care, support, and resources necessary for children, youth, and families to thrive.
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Parent Trust offers unique solutions for the entire family through free or low-cost classes, workshops, and coaching. With more than 30 years experience, Parent Trust is a respected, dependable source of education and support for parents, caregivers, children, and teens.

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Peak7 Adventures is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization serving youth (primarily underprivileged and at-risk). Their goal is to get youth out of their comfort zone and experience the adventurous outdoors. Experiencing the outdoors can help them learn more about themselves as well as building teamwork with their peers or cohorts. They believe that by spending time in the wilderness, taking risks and seeking solitude, they will gain more than just adventure skills that will help them succeed and handle problems.  Scholarships are available to foster care youth so that money is not a barrier to participication.
Teen Reach Group
Former foster child Shannon VanderArk facilitates a Facebook page just for teens. It is a place of encouragement and an outlet for questions. Click Here if you are a teen who wants to join this closed Facebook group.
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WashingTeenHelp.org is managed by the statewide non-profit WithinReach and was designed to connect pregnant and parenting teens to health information, state benefit programs, and community-specific support resources. This website offers valuable information and resources for all teens including topics such as relationships, dating violence, general and sexual health, pregnancy, parenting, legal resources, and planning for the future.