Where I Live At – Group Home Living and Aging Out of Foster Care

As part of the on-going K books series, this time around the safe zone is the day to day functioning of typical and atypical youth group homes, and the faces that represent the high rate of teenagers and early 20somes placed under city and state supervision. For a newbie, a first timer, being dropped off into unfamiliar territory means the end of one reality for another. There’re the usual minor details like showing your game face and figuring out quickly who to bond with for respect, if not protection. For the one aging out of foster care, it’s a time for making even more serious decisions. A decent legit job and community college. Keeping a good GPA and keeping that job. Learning a trade and parenting skills. Correcting past mistakes and not repeating them. This is when mentors and life coaches do their best work. This is also when parents and guardians return to their honorable roles with new tools and a new outlook on the ways of being a healthy, functional, emotionally present family.

The housing of youth in crisis is still trying to keep up with the on-going rise of adolescents who are labeled unmanageable, unadoptable and unwanted. And the types of unwanted are being grouped together depending on their identifiable realities— autistic, manic depressive, obsessive compulsive, cognitively limited, sexual minority, orphan, physically challenged, medically challenged, refugee detainee. Homelessness and drug and alcohol abuse is a result of someone’s reality but not an identity. It used to be a lot simpler. Pregnant girls and unruly boys. But we’re becoming a society that recognizes that a pregnant 15yrld girl can be autistic and a rude boy can have a boyfriend. The ideal youth group home keeps changing, as new youth agents create intervention facilities that match new realities. As with our foster care system, where youth are now using social media to speak out against guardians who became substitute parents strictly for the money. And that’s real. Because if that’s where you live at, the choice between being wanted for the financial benefits you represent and taking a chance on another foster home that may have even worse intentions is nothing compared to not even being able to be placed.

Where I Live At – Group Home Living and Aging Out of Foster Care
Coming Soon

Having a manual on what to expect and therapeutic tools to implement in a group home setting, especially from the perspective of a non-traditional youth interventionist, would have been extremely helpful during my tenure as a residential counselor.
— Angela Bell, Founder of Lamp's Love Project

“They were the best youth residential counselors at the facility yet had never heard the term alternative nor had they ever had a supervising team leader who pushed for culturally-relevant approaches regarding the rehabilitation of adolescents, particularly girls and boys of African descent. Their undergraduate training had prepared them for the basic requirements in the field. But it was a strange new youth advocate trans-potted from New York City who showed them the difference between theory and application.”