Foster Kids: Get Ready Now for What's Ahead in Your Life

Reviewed Sep 1, 2016

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Summary

  • Find a mentor.
  • Think positive.
  • Take good care of yourself.

Soon, you’ll leave your foster family to live on your own. Once you turn 18 or 21—depending on where you live—you’ll be taking care of yourself. 

Are you ready? You probably look forward to the freedom, but are you a little bit afraid of the responsibility you’ll take on?

Most people have fears, some big, some little. You wonder where you will live and how you’ll make enough money to support yourself.

Plan ahead

Now is the time to build skills, make plans, and work toward moving into adulthood, while you still have the security of a foster home and social services support.

You’ll need:

  1. Self-knowledge and self-confidence
  2. Basic organizational skills
  3. A sense of responsibility
  4. The ability to plan ahead

No matter when or how you entered the foster care system, you need to remember—and accept—that you are not responsible for what brought you there. Your family was not able to care for you. Foster care was the only option.

You may have lived in one or many foster homes. If you were lucky, you had warm and loving foster parents. If not, keep moving forward to build the life you want and deserve. Don’t look back, look ahead. 

Build on your strength

The past has probably taught you to be flexible and ready to deal with whatever life brings you. You have learned to adapt because you needed to, and that has made you strong. Be proud of your strength and build on it.

10 tips for aging out

To help you get started:

  • Find an adult mentor (not a social service professional). Choose an older relative, teacher, friend’s parent, or someone you admire and feel comfortable with. Let that person help you through the maze of young adulthood, while you learn to trust yourself and others.
  • Look for positive programs to join, like the Y or an organization that offers a healthy social life and fun—but useful—activities. Do something that counts, for you and for others. You’ll have a good time while you learn new skills with people your own age.
  • Get moving. Commit to regular physical activity, like school sports, running, hiking, swimming, Tai Chi, yoga, or fitness classes. It’s easier to keep strong emotionally if you keep physically fit.  
  • Avoid risky behavior. Don’t do anything that takes over or alters your mind or your body, like alcohol or drugs. Think carefully before getting involved with someone sexually. An unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, or serious injury may impact your goals. Stay strong to keep in control of your future. 
  • Look for opportunities to train, go other places, and try new things. Take music lessons. Volunteer to help at a nursing home, animal shelter, or environmental organization. If you can learn a new skill, go for it. You can’t have too much education. Expand your horizons now to have more possibilities for your future. There’s a big world out there. If you look around, you’ll find many places where you would fit in and be happy.
  • Think for yourself and do for yourself. Learn to cook, clean, shop, open a bank account, and manage your own money. Learn to drive. You may not know your way around your city or town. Learn before you need to. Read maps to figure out how to get from one place to another on your own by foot, by bus, or train. 
  • Read everything. You’ll learn more about your own life as you discover what others have done in theirs.
  • Don’t rush. Live life, one stage at a time. Feel comfortable before you take on more responsibility. Don’t rush into parenthood until you’re finished being a child and young adult. There will be plenty of time to take care of others. Take care of yourself now and you’ll be a better a parent, later.
  • Make a plan. It can be simple, but anchored to a goal. Do you want to start a business, work as a nurse, or get married and start a family? Keep your dream in your thoughts as you make decisions along the way.  
  • Get plenty of sleep. Eat a varied diet. Stay away from junk food and junk activities. Take good care of your body and mind, and the rest will follow.

Speak for yourself

You are your own best advocate. You know better than anyone else what you need and what you want. Speak up when you need to. Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion.

Resources

FosterClub, www.fosterclub.com/, an online network for young people in foster care.

Youth Communication, www.youthcomm.org/, an online magazine written by youth for youth in foster care.

By Paula Hartman Cohen
Source: Matt Anderson, LCSW, Missoula, MT, social worker and producer of "From Place to Place," a documentary about young people aging out of the foster care system; Scott Haltzman, MD, psychiatrist, author and Medical Director of NRI Community Services, Woonsocket, RI
Reviewed by Trenda Hedges, CRSS, Recovery Team Manager and Julie Tull, CRSS, Peer & Family Support Specialist, Beacon Health Options

Summary

  • Find a mentor.
  • Think positive.
  • Take good care of yourself.

Soon, you’ll leave your foster family to live on your own. Once you turn 18 or 21—depending on where you live—you’ll be taking care of yourself. 

Are you ready? You probably look forward to the freedom, but are you a little bit afraid of the responsibility you’ll take on?

Most people have fears, some big, some little. You wonder where you will live and how you’ll make enough money to support yourself.

Plan ahead

Now is the time to build skills, make plans, and work toward moving into adulthood, while you still have the security of a foster home and social services support.

You’ll need:

  1. Self-knowledge and self-confidence
  2. Basic organizational skills
  3. A sense of responsibility
  4. The ability to plan ahead

No matter when or how you entered the foster care system, you need to remember—and accept—that you are not responsible for what brought you there. Your family was not able to care for you. Foster care was the only option.

You may have lived in one or many foster homes. If you were lucky, you had warm and loving foster parents. If not, keep moving forward to build the life you want and deserve. Don’t look back, look ahead. 

Build on your strength

The past has probably taught you to be flexible and ready to deal with whatever life brings you. You have learned to adapt because you needed to, and that has made you strong. Be proud of your strength and build on it.

10 tips for aging out

To help you get started:

  • Find an adult mentor (not a social service professional). Choose an older relative, teacher, friend’s parent, or someone you admire and feel comfortable with. Let that person help you through the maze of young adulthood, while you learn to trust yourself and others.
  • Look for positive programs to join, like the Y or an organization that offers a healthy social life and fun—but useful—activities. Do something that counts, for you and for others. You’ll have a good time while you learn new skills with people your own age.
  • Get moving. Commit to regular physical activity, like school sports, running, hiking, swimming, Tai Chi, yoga, or fitness classes. It’s easier to keep strong emotionally if you keep physically fit.  
  • Avoid risky behavior. Don’t do anything that takes over or alters your mind or your body, like alcohol or drugs. Think carefully before getting involved with someone sexually. An unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, or serious injury may impact your goals. Stay strong to keep in control of your future. 
  • Look for opportunities to train, go other places, and try new things. Take music lessons. Volunteer to help at a nursing home, animal shelter, or environmental organization. If you can learn a new skill, go for it. You can’t have too much education. Expand your horizons now to have more possibilities for your future. There’s a big world out there. If you look around, you’ll find many places where you would fit in and be happy.
  • Think for yourself and do for yourself. Learn to cook, clean, shop, open a bank account, and manage your own money. Learn to drive. You may not know your way around your city or town. Learn before you need to. Read maps to figure out how to get from one place to another on your own by foot, by bus, or train. 
  • Read everything. You’ll learn more about your own life as you discover what others have done in theirs.
  • Don’t rush. Live life, one stage at a time. Feel comfortable before you take on more responsibility. Don’t rush into parenthood until you’re finished being a child and young adult. There will be plenty of time to take care of others. Take care of yourself now and you’ll be a better a parent, later.
  • Make a plan. It can be simple, but anchored to a goal. Do you want to start a business, work as a nurse, or get married and start a family? Keep your dream in your thoughts as you make decisions along the way.  
  • Get plenty of sleep. Eat a varied diet. Stay away from junk food and junk activities. Take good care of your body and mind, and the rest will follow.

Speak for yourself

You are your own best advocate. You know better than anyone else what you need and what you want. Speak up when you need to. Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion.

Resources

FosterClub, www.fosterclub.com/, an online network for young people in foster care.

Youth Communication, www.youthcomm.org/, an online magazine written by youth for youth in foster care.

By Paula Hartman Cohen
Source: Matt Anderson, LCSW, Missoula, MT, social worker and producer of "From Place to Place," a documentary about young people aging out of the foster care system; Scott Haltzman, MD, psychiatrist, author and Medical Director of NRI Community Services, Woonsocket, RI
Reviewed by Trenda Hedges, CRSS, Recovery Team Manager and Julie Tull, CRSS, Peer & Family Support Specialist, Beacon Health Options

Summary

  • Find a mentor.
  • Think positive.
  • Take good care of yourself.

Soon, you’ll leave your foster family to live on your own. Once you turn 18 or 21—depending on where you live—you’ll be taking care of yourself. 

Are you ready? You probably look forward to the freedom, but are you a little bit afraid of the responsibility you’ll take on?

Most people have fears, some big, some little. You wonder where you will live and how you’ll make enough money to support yourself.

Plan ahead

Now is the time to build skills, make plans, and work toward moving into adulthood, while you still have the security of a foster home and social services support.

You’ll need:

  1. Self-knowledge and self-confidence
  2. Basic organizational skills
  3. A sense of responsibility
  4. The ability to plan ahead

No matter when or how you entered the foster care system, you need to remember—and accept—that you are not responsible for what brought you there. Your family was not able to care for you. Foster care was the only option.

You may have lived in one or many foster homes. If you were lucky, you had warm and loving foster parents. If not, keep moving forward to build the life you want and deserve. Don’t look back, look ahead. 

Build on your strength

The past has probably taught you to be flexible and ready to deal with whatever life brings you. You have learned to adapt because you needed to, and that has made you strong. Be proud of your strength and build on it.

10 tips for aging out

To help you get started:

  • Find an adult mentor (not a social service professional). Choose an older relative, teacher, friend’s parent, or someone you admire and feel comfortable with. Let that person help you through the maze of young adulthood, while you learn to trust yourself and others.
  • Look for positive programs to join, like the Y or an organization that offers a healthy social life and fun—but useful—activities. Do something that counts, for you and for others. You’ll have a good time while you learn new skills with people your own age.
  • Get moving. Commit to regular physical activity, like school sports, running, hiking, swimming, Tai Chi, yoga, or fitness classes. It’s easier to keep strong emotionally if you keep physically fit.  
  • Avoid risky behavior. Don’t do anything that takes over or alters your mind or your body, like alcohol or drugs. Think carefully before getting involved with someone sexually. An unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, or serious injury may impact your goals. Stay strong to keep in control of your future. 
  • Look for opportunities to train, go other places, and try new things. Take music lessons. Volunteer to help at a nursing home, animal shelter, or environmental organization. If you can learn a new skill, go for it. You can’t have too much education. Expand your horizons now to have more possibilities for your future. There’s a big world out there. If you look around, you’ll find many places where you would fit in and be happy.
  • Think for yourself and do for yourself. Learn to cook, clean, shop, open a bank account, and manage your own money. Learn to drive. You may not know your way around your city or town. Learn before you need to. Read maps to figure out how to get from one place to another on your own by foot, by bus, or train. 
  • Read everything. You’ll learn more about your own life as you discover what others have done in theirs.
  • Don’t rush. Live life, one stage at a time. Feel comfortable before you take on more responsibility. Don’t rush into parenthood until you’re finished being a child and young adult. There will be plenty of time to take care of others. Take care of yourself now and you’ll be a better a parent, later.
  • Make a plan. It can be simple, but anchored to a goal. Do you want to start a business, work as a nurse, or get married and start a family? Keep your dream in your thoughts as you make decisions along the way.  
  • Get plenty of sleep. Eat a varied diet. Stay away from junk food and junk activities. Take good care of your body and mind, and the rest will follow.

Speak for yourself

You are your own best advocate. You know better than anyone else what you need and what you want. Speak up when you need to. Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion.

Resources

FosterClub, www.fosterclub.com/, an online network for young people in foster care.

Youth Communication, www.youthcomm.org/, an online magazine written by youth for youth in foster care.

By Paula Hartman Cohen
Source: Matt Anderson, LCSW, Missoula, MT, social worker and producer of "From Place to Place," a documentary about young people aging out of the foster care system; Scott Haltzman, MD, psychiatrist, author and Medical Director of NRI Community Services, Woonsocket, RI
Reviewed by Trenda Hedges, CRSS, Recovery Team Manager and Julie Tull, CRSS, Peer & Family Support Specialist, Beacon Health Options

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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