Family and Youth Initiative

Learn more or take the first step to become a mentor, host parent, or adoptive parent at DCFYI program orientation. Our next orientation is Monday February 8. RSVP from the DCFYI website calendar.

Two stories of teens in foster care finally finding adoptive families:

Of All the Kids, They Picked Me! and  

Years of Change, and then a Forever Home.

And a reminder from a teen in care: "The reality is that we want to be loved like everyone else, we need the support and encouragement from families and we need a place to call home.  Just because we are older and independent to some degree doesn’t mean that we don’t need help."

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What it takes to make a connection

I have always been fascinated by the differences in what each of us remembers - for example, how two people could share an experience and yet remember totally different aspects of it.
I have been thinking about this lately because of some funny conversations I have had with DCFYI teens. I will mention an adult by name. Teen professes to have no idea who I am talking about and asks for a description (not so helpful because I am not a visual person). So I find a photo or do a better job of reminding the teen where he or she met the adult. A light bulb goes off and of course teen knows who the adult is.
I have come to understand that for many teens in care there are just too many adults who come and go in their lives. It is hard to remember names and why bother if you expect this adult to be like all the others and simply disappear?
And as much as any adult thinks he or she is different and plans to stick around, the teen has no way of knowing that. If your past experience is that adults are not consistent, it can take a long time to believe otherwise.
For a new DCFYI volunteer it can feel like a slog to come to lots of events before teens begin to warm up. But the teens need to see an adult over and over again before they believe that adult is going to stick around. They may not remember a name right away but they see who is coming to events.
One of the things I particularly love is to see the end result when a teen develops a real connection with an adult. Those relationships are why being consistent and showing up until a teen is ready to trust and connect is so important.
Happy 2016,

Upcoming Program Events

Our next program events:

  • Games afternoon; Saturday January 23
  • STEM + Art = STEAM; Saturday February 6.
  • Foster Care 101, Thursday January 14.

Event details on the website calendar, where you can also RSVP.

At DCFYI program events you will get to meet teens and other adult volunteers. We guarantee you'll have a good time and will want to come back to get to know the teens better.

We look forward to seeing you!

Host Parent Training

We are very excited to be holding our first in-house training for host parents since we became Family & Youth Initiative.

If you would like to participate and are not already signed up, please email so we can include you.

Looking for another way to get involved?

Would you be interested in supporting DCFYI by serving on one of these committees:

  • Board Development
  • ​Fundraising
  • Communications

If so, please email for more information. Thank you.

Thank you

To everyone who helped us close out such a successful 2015: especially those who contributed to the gift giving for DCFYI teens or made an end of year donation to ensure DCFYI would start this year on sound financial footing.

Special thanks to the Meyer Foundation Children and Family Capacity-Building Initiative for funding our new website (have you seen it yet?); and to both the Share Fund and the law firm of Ober, Kaler, Grimes, & Shriver for support that will allow us to reach more teens in foster care with our unique combination of mentoring and a community of support.

Thank you. DCFYI would not be connecting teens with families if not for you.

853 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Suite 200
Washington, DC 20003

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