Every year in our country there are thousands of adolescents who age out of the child welfare system. Many of these youth age out with no parental or family support. Some of these adolescents have become dependent on the child welfare system for survival as they have spent most of their lives relying on the resources of the system. According to research, this population is among societies most vulnerable in regards to becoming incarcerated, homeless, pregnant, and developing substance abuse issues.
I am very familiar with the above mentioned facts as I spent almost ten years of my life residing in out of home care through Kentucky’s child welfare system. I grew up in a low income, inner city neighborhood in Lexington and had life experiences that sometimes made it difficult for me to realize my full potential. Over the course of my time in the state’s care, I experienced first hand the many obstacles that foster youth have to overcome. My personal background partially assisted me in developing the work ethic and confidence that it took for me to be successful to this point in my life. However, my interactions with people within the child welfare system as well as people within the community helped me see a vivid picture of my full potential. It was truly a calling for me to give back to the community and help kids who are in the foster care system. I fully believe in the adage “without struggle there is no progress.” I am dedicated to helping individuals, groups, and communities realize their full potential. I believe that through my commitment to social justice and advocacy I will continue to live out all the potential possibilities.
Fostering Goodwill is a Lexington, Kentucky based 501c3 organization that assists older youth in the child welfare system to enhance their potential of self determination. This organization has pledged its commitment to fostering a sense of empowerment to motivated individuals in the foster care system within our community. These adolescents need specific resources that can increase the chances they become independent and productive members of society. Unfortunately, some of these resources are not provided to them. Our organization challenges individuals and businesses to help these foster youth reach their full potential and in turn help our community reach its full potential as well.
Earl Washington, MSW, Co-Director of Fostering Goodwill
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© 2016 Fostering Goodwill