By Katie Rose Matten, Outreach Coordinator at Boys & Girls Aid
More than 8,000 children are living in Oregon’s foster care system. This morning, these children woke up in a bed that is not theirs, they are living without their parents, their siblings, their family pet, their teachers and friends. They are living in limbo, unsure about their future.
In 1885, Boys & Girls Aid was founded in response to a crisis. Children were being abandoned on the streets of Portland with nowhere to go. The agency created a home for these children to go to and connect in the community to find families for them.
Over 135 years later and Oregon is facing a new crisis.
If we don’t find a positive solution, the outcomes for children who stay in foster care are troubling. Children who grow up in foster care face serious challenges. Less than 5% will attend college. Just under 50% will not graduate high school. The chances of them becoming homeless or incarcerated are significantly higher than their peers.
Their struggles are tied to instability in the foster care system. Children entering foster care will move more than four times during their first year. If a permanent solution is not found, this process is repeated over and over again with more moves. Children in foster care enter a tailspin where they no longer trust adults and live in a fight or flight mentality. They get frustrated. They get aggressive. And then they lose hope.
At Boys & Girls Aid, we see children in foster care for who they really are – kids. They are young people who have done nothing to deserve their situation and we believe with the right foster family, they can find stability and thrive. It is our mission to make sure every child in foster care finds lifelong connection with people who care about them.
You can be a part of the solution. Children in foster care need caring adults who know their history and are invested in their future. The cycle of foster care is a brutal one that can end with children struggling as adults. To avoid this, we need to ensure their future safety and resolve their past traumas by connecting them with adults who have space in their home and heart to provide a safe place for them until they can find permanency.
Boys & Girls Aid foster parents receive generous tax-free monthly stipends ranging from $1,200 – $3,000, along with specialized ongoing training, 24/7 support, and time-off when needed.
We’d love to tell you more about becoming a foster parent: