Imagine turning 18 and suddenly being on your own, with no family to support you. That’s the reality that many teens face when they emancipate, or ‘age out’ of foster care. Fortunately, in central Ohio, there is now additional support from each county’s Independent Living Specialist, as well as funds from the state of Ohio to help them get on their feet. Fostering Further is working to support these youth in other ways.
- Help youth find local jobs. Many youth need employment after aging out, and we are building a network of businesses who are willing to work with them.
- Help youth find transportation. Most teens in foster care do not have a driver’s license, but when they emancipate, they need to be able to get to work or school. From April to August, we usually get several requests for reasonably-priced vehicles ($1000-$3000) in good condition.
- Put together a gift basket. While a foster youth may qualify for SNAP benefits or food assistance, these benefits typically do not start right away. Your donations will give them something to eat and take care of themselves until their first paycheck or SNAP benefits kick in. Specifically, these items are most useful:
- Non-perishable foods – Easy things to eat/cook that don’t require a lot of ingredients, such as microwave cups of mac & cheese, crackers, cereal, granola bars, juice, cookies, heat & serve soup, vegetables, just-add-water brownies, etc.
Trash can with basic cleaning supplies – Multi-purpose cleaners, toilet bowl cleaner & brush, small broom, trash bags, sponges, etc.
Basket of hygiene items – Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo/conditioner, razors, feminine products, lotion, hand soap, comb, deodorant, bandaids, etc.
- Basic tool set – At least a hammer and screwdriver
Laundry basket with paper products & laundry supplies – Laundry detergent & fabric softener, paper towels, toilet paper, tissues, etc.
- Donate gift cards to local grocery stores. Unfortunately, many foster youth have never learned how to shop for groceries. Gift cards enable the Independent Living Specialist to take them to the store and teach them how to look for sales, lower-priced options, and healthy alternatives to Mt. Dew and Twinkies.
- Donate funds for small shelving units. Many of these youth live a very transient lifestyle in the beginning. We at Fostering Further are trying to provide small shelves with fabric bins for each teen. Then, if they do need to leave a place, they can pack, load, and unload their belongings with minimal effort in a small vehicle.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- How do youth who have emancipated from foster care get to use these services? We work closely with the county’s Independent Living Specialist to provide these services, so all of the youth have been referred to us through a caseworker.
- Is there a busy season for youth who are emancipating? Yes. Typically, most youth will emancipate from May through July. We are always looking for more donations during this time.
- Where can I drop off my donations? Please use our Contact Us form to schedule a local pick-up or drop-off for items. Thank you!