The statistics are harrowing:
- Foster kids are 4 times more likely to have experienced sexual abuse than a child in the general population
- Teen pregnancy rates top 25%
- Barely half of all foster children graduate from high school (and only 2% attend college)
These problems do not occur in a vacuum, and contribute to the cycle of poverty for the next generation. They also impact the rest of society. In California, for example, foster children compromise less than 0.3% of the state’s population, and yet 40% of persons living in homeless shelters are former foster children. A similarly disproportionate percentage of the nation’s prison population is comprised of former foster youth.
According to a report by the Brookings Institute, the current state of the foster care system is “really not a cohesive system but a combination of many overlapping and interacting agencies, all charged with providing services, financial support, or other assistance to children and their families. Lack of coordination among agencies, chronic underfunding, and low morale have led to a system that exacts a toll on everyone it touches.”
There is no “silver bullet” or top-down approach that will achieve institutional reform. To reform an imperfect system, each problem must be tackled with full force before they arise. This hinges on effective, inspired, and coordinated leadership.
FosterShip is a pioneer in Foster Care reform, with a mission to recruit, educate, inspire, and connect leaders in the Foster Care system so that all children receive the care they deserve. The impact of the program will be to change the way the public sees the institutional response to the crises of the nation’s half million foster children.
Founded in 2014, FosterShip aims to address the chronic disconnectedness of Foster Care organizations stemming from under-funding in the system. These organizations, tasked with providing direct care, advocacy, education, and health services to our most vulnerable children, are burdened by heavy caseloads and are forced to spread their budgets thin.
FosterShip sends top talent (Graduate School Fellows) to organizations that otherwise wouldn’t have the funding for enough manpower to solve the Foster Care system’s deeper issues.
In turn, the Fellows are a part of a broader effort to raise awareness when they return to their communities inspired to drive change on a systemic level. The result is a win-win situation where the leadership pipeline is built at FosterShip so that the next generation of leaders is equipped to tackle the sector’s unique challenges.
The campaign’s goal is $25,000 and ends on November 28.