Many of you know our mission at Covenant Community Services is to end the cycle of child abuse and neglect and see foster youth walk in spiritual wholeness, today I experienced that vision in a very “real” way.
This afternoon I took Lajoy Gentry, a former foster youth and Covenant employee along for an on-camera interview with Daniel Miller who is a social service supervisor with The Kern County Department of Human Services. Miller helps facilitate the operation of the state’s Transitional Housing Plus Program, to which Covenant locates and manages a caseload of about fifty former foster youth in Kern County.
The purpose of the interview is to produce a story that sheds light on this vital program for foster youth in our community and state.
We were interviewing Miller about the Governor’s plan to reduce, even eliminate funding for the program which serves former foster youth age 18-24. Under the proposal, the program could be reduced by $19 million dollars this fiscal year. Cutting the THP-Plus program would not only decrease the level of housing available to youth, it could by some estimates leave more than 200 youth in our state homeless. Many agree any cuts or reductions in funding for this program would have drastic repercussions for youth in our community.
But as Lajoy conducted the interview, I realized something…Lajoy was in the THP-Plus program herself and had recently graduated. At one time in her life, she had experienced the same confusion and fears associated with emancipation as many foster youth do, but thankfully had the support of the program. Lajoy was interviewing a social service supervisor from the program which helped restore stability in her life.
I was reminded that Hope can come full-circle in the lives of former foster youth, and when it does…it’s a moment to treasure and celebrate.
We need to remember… former foster youth are more than numbers of a page, or funding revenues in budgets that can be slashed or cut, rather, they are people with amazing stories to tell…*especially* when their story of success and hope comes full circle.