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 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.
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.
REAL CONNECTIONS FAQ
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.
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.