Family & Youth Initiative host parents give teens in foster care the best possibility of finding an adoptive family. They create opportunities for other adults to get to know the teen, greatly increasing the probability that the teen will meet a person or couple who will decide to adopt.
Host parents and teens forge a special bond over weekend visits, incorporating the teen into the host’s family life. They cook and eat together, have fun, do weekend chores, attend religious services, explore the neighborhood, and meet neighbors. The host family serves as the teen’s adoption advocate, talking to others about the teen and his or her desire to be adopted and planning activities where adults and teen can meet.
A host family’s love and support helps a teen gain confidence in herself and in the possibility of adoption.
Host parents help support then teen as she transitions into the adoptive family.
Host parents change lives.
With my host parent it's like my home away from home. It gives me a chance to bond and create new relationships.
Because not only can you have a lasting impact on the life of a teen, but because it’s fun! You’ll share favorite activities and try new ones in the company of a teen who will be some combination of smart, outspoken, sassy, worldly, curious, insightful, skeptical and fun.
DCFYI will prepare and support you with training, support group meetings, and one-on-one advice. You’ll be part of a wonderful community of volunteers who share lessons learned and support each other.
Host parents welcome a teen into their home at least two weekends a month for four months.
Host parents commit to fully integrating the teen into their family life for visits and meeting the youth’s needs while he or she is visiting. Many hosts and youth keep in regular contact between weekend visits.
Family & Youth Initiative host parents must:
- Be at least 21;
- Provide a nurturing home environment, including a bedroom for the hosted youth;
- Have the health, energy and interest to spend time with a teen;
- Attend orientation and training and complete a home-study;
- Have means of transportation or willingness to ride Metro to pick up youth for weekend visits;
- Commit to helping the youth meet other interested adults.
Individuals with a current adoption or foster care home study do not need to redo training or homestudy so long as their agency will release a copy of the home study. Please talk to us to learn more.
Host parents are matched with a youth and work one-on-one with that youth, developing a personal supportive relationship.
Host parents spend time with youth, getting to know each other, having fun, and making opportunities for the youth to meet adults who might be (or become) open to adoption.
Host parents may help youth with homework or school projects. They could help them explore college or career options. The range of activities will depend upon the interests of adult and youth and age and needs of the youth.
Host parents listen to youth, giving them a safe place to discuss hopes and fears.
Host parents report to DCFYI, with updates on weekend visits, developments and any concerns.
Host parents protect confidentiality – only sharing information about or from the youth with others who are working directly with the youth.
Host parents spend at least two weekends a month with their youth. We encourage host parents to make a long term commitment to the youth, becoming a part of his or her extended family.
Being more intimately involved with a child has definitely solidified our interest in helping these kids find more permanent adult relationships be it mentors, host families or adoptive families.
-DCFYI Host Parents
Steps to being a host parent:
- Attend DCFYI orientation;
- Submit the host parent application (which you will get at orientation);
- Complete 30 hours of pre-service training;
- Complete home study
While you are in process to become a host parent, attend Family & Youth Initiative events so you can get to know participating youth and be ready to be matched once you’ve completed home study. We make matches based on relationships that develop at events.