Health and Human Services Agency, Child Welfare Services is committed to excellent delivery of culturally competent, family-centered and child-focused protective services.
The Foster Youth Mentor Program matches caring adults with foster children. Foster children are dependents of the Juvenile Dependency Court, and are generally residing in a foster home or a group home. The Mentors provide the children with a supportive and enriching one-on-one relationship that will aid in developing self-esteem. Activities may include providing transportation, tutoring, and various social/educational outings.
I was a previous mentor to four foster children. My goal as a mentor to the four children was to bring light into their dark world. I’m very grateful for my time with the kids & watching them grow up into successful adults. I reflect on the oldest child I mentored, we met when she was 15 & found out she was a cuter then became very suicidal. I had wondered if she would make it & why I was in her life since I didn’t know if I was really making a difference. Well I can say today she is a GREAT mom of three children & has been married for 10yrs. We are still close & she tells me all the time I couldn’t have done it without you! It just makes tears come to my eyes writing this & thinking about all the challenges they went through but all the joy they gave me. Without them I my life I would have been empty! Over 70% of foster children are incrassated as an adult without mentors these numbers will continue to climb. PLEASE don’t miss this opportunity to mentor a foster child!
I volunteered for a few years with the San Diego County Foster Youth Mentor Program and am at a point where I think I'm going to volunteer with them again. Foster Youth are, by definition, wards of the state, so they are OUR responsibility. They need mentors. If you are able to pass screening, you have something to offer. There is such an incredible need for mentors.
When I was a mentor before, I didn't know anything about parenting, so I ended up buying my mentee whatever she asked for, simply because I felt sorry for her. I also let her decide what our outing would be. I learned the hard way: Don't give your mentee too much power. The relationship itself needs to be the reward. You can still do fun things, but don't be Santa Claus. Yes, I recommend this program, but be careful not to give too much of yourself. These kids have learned from the system that they need to be takers or else they won't get their needs met. You can give them a tremendous gift just by showing up.