Having an adult to rely on-it’s a concept many young people in foster care know nothing about.
We’re hoping to change that.
At Foster Forward, we believe that all young people deserve a long-term connection with a supportive adult – especially those in foster care, for whom relationships with caring adults make all the difference when it comes to transitioning successfully from state care to adulthood.
That’s why, in collaboration with Rhode Island DCYF and community agencies, we offer a program that connects foster youth, ages 8-21, with positive, long-lasting adult role models who can provide guidance and emotional support to young people who are preparing to leave foster care and live independently. Whether the adult is someone who the youth once knew or someone we match them with from the community, Foster Forward uses promising practices to ensure natural supports for all youth in care.
Through Real Connections, we help foster youth identify and forge meaningful connections with trusted adults. We then facilitate and support these mentoring relationships, tailoring the program to each young person’s needs and goals.
Whether they are relatives, teachers, coaches, or members of the local community, Real Connections mentors play a pivotal role in helping foster youth develop trust in adults and form attachments. They also provide much-needed education and employment guidance. And, based on the strong bonds formed through the program, some mentors eventually become permanent connections as foster or adoptive parents.
- Are you a foster youth looking for a mentor? Download the Real Connections Youth Application (PDF)
- Are you an adult interested in becoming a mentor? Download the Real Connections Mentor Application (PDF)
- Find out more about how we build on natural supports.
REAL CONNECTIONS FAQ
Who can participate in Real Connections?
You can participate in Real Connections if you’re a Rhode Island foster youth between the ages of 8-21 and you are about to age out of DCYF care without a permanent adult support.
What do I get out of participating?
If you choose to participate in this voluntary program, you will likely establish a positive, long-term relationship with a supportive adult who will help you work toward achieving your goals, like applying for college or finding a job.
What is the referral/application process?
Referrals can come from DCYF staff, permanency support team consultations, foster parents, and community providers. You may also refer yourself. Whether you’re an adult referring a young person or a young person referring yourself, download and fill out the Real Connections Youth Application (PDF).
Please return the application to Real Connections, 55 South Brow Street, East Providence, R.I. 02914 or fax it to 401.438.3901.
Who can I contact for more information or with questions?
Contact Kate Bronner, Program Coordinator at 401.438.3900 ext. 108 or firstname.lastname@example.org;
This program is supported, in part, through a Consolidated Youth Services contract with the Department of Children, Youth and Families. Part of Consolidated Youth Services (CYS), Real Connections is one of an array of services designed to ensure the successful transition of young people from the Rhode Island foster care system to adulthood.
Real Connections is also supported through the generous support of the Rhode Island Foundation, The Sinclair Family Foundation, Hasbro Children’s Fund and Textron.