Older children are the least likely to be adopted and the most likely to age out of foster care.

Imagine being 21 years old, recently out of foster care, and expected to live as a completely independent adult. Is it any wonder so many former foster youth struggle as they start their adult lives?

Yet research shows that having just one caring, committed adult in the life of a child in foster care can make all the difference between struggle and success.

We help teens in care find those adults.

Family & Youth Initiative is a caring community of adults and youth who believe in the importance of family. We help older children in foster care find family and create extended family connections.

Our mission is to create community and lasting relationships for teens and young adults in foster care.

(written by a former foster youth)

Imagine waking up on your 21st birthday and instead of finding presents you find your bags packed and you foster parents telling you to get out. That is the reality many youth in foster care face. Things have gotten a little bit better for the thousands of youth who “age out” of foster care every year, but many still have to face the reality of “get up and get out” on their birthday.

About 28,000 youth aged out of the foster care system in FY 2010. Of those 28,000, one in four will be incarcerated within two years of aging out, more than 20% will become homeless after the age of 18, and only 58% will obtain their high school diploma or GED by the age of 19 (compared to 87% of teens who aren’t in foster care). With so many odds stacked against them, it’s a wonder how anyone can survive and succeed in the real world.

Many youth who age out of foster care leave with little to no support or skills to survive, let alone get ahead in life. Most youth who aren’t in the foster care system have the support of family to depend on once they step out on their own. Many of you can probably name at least one supportive adult in your life who helped you get where you are today. These youth oftentimes have no one.

Without the help of a supportive adult, many youth begin to fall into lives described by these very statistics.

The good news is that you can help. It only takes one adult filled with love and the desire to help to get a youth on a path towards success.

Family & Youth Initiative is the only DC area organization focused exclusively on helping teens in foster care make lifelong connections with caring adults.

We match youth with host parents and mentors, and help them find adoptive families.

DCFYI is a caring supportive community of adults and teens.

We get together at least once a month for program events that allow adults and teens to get to know each other while having fun. Only DCFYI allows teens and adults the chance to get to know each other before being matched for mentoring or host parenting. Hosting and mentoring matches are made from the relationships that form naturally through the events.

Adults develop relationships with many teens, not just the one they get matched with. Those relationships are an important part of the DCFYI “village.”

Want to see for yourself? Please join us for an upcoming event.