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Questions on Friends of Youth Foster Care Programs

Friends of Youth has been transitioning a foster care residence, Howard House, from a single-family home to a staffed residential program. Our decision to transition this residence to an expanded program was solely based on serving more youth, which is core to our mission. We were surprised by the public nature of this transition, and we continue to work with foster parents directly on providing the highest level of care for young people.

With any changes we consider, we work directly with our foster parents, while ensuring as best as possible, that all youth in our care are safely placed during these transitions. In this case, all children who are fostered will continue to be cared for and are placed in homes.

As an organization with a 70 year history, we understand that needs are great and we are doing our part to support youth and young adults in our region. Friends of Youth remains committed to its founding principles: an unwavering dedication to providing quality services; the flexibility to meet new and emerging needs; and most important, a commitment to securing the futures of the most vulnerable members of the community. We are proud to be providing 24 programs in 18 cities within the Puget Sound region that serve 3,200 young people each year.

Please communicate any questions or concerns via info@friendsofyouth.org and/or any media inquiries to Hannah Mello as our media contact, hannah@friendsofyouth.org.

Friends Of Youth Fact Sheet

Outcomes, Fiscal Year 2020

 

Frequently Asked Questions (Updated 3/30/21)

Q: What is the difference between foster care programs and programs supporting unaccompanied children?

A:

A foster care program in the traditional sense, provides licensed foster care for youth who are under the legal guardianship of the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF). This typically is care for youth who have been abused, abandoned or neglected and do not have a safe guardian to care for them.

Programs for Unaccompanied Children provide the very same care for youth, for the very same reasons, however Unaccompanied Children are under the guardianship of the federal government through the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), until a family member or sponsor is located for the youth, they turn the age of 18 or achieve legal permanent residency.

Read more here.

Q: What is Friends of Youth doing to support existing youth in our counties?

A:

We serve approximately 3200 youth and young adults annually across 24 programs in 18 cities in King County. (See fact sheet here for details of programs).

We work in collaboration with many local, state and federal coalitions and community partners to serve the needs of youth in our communities.

Q: Are you increasing your capacity or decreasing your capacity to care for youth in our county?

A:

We are not reducing the number of state-funded foster youth we support and we are not reducing the amount of support we provide to our Department of Children, Youth and Families foster families. We are expanding a federally-funded residential program.

Q: What is the justification for asking a family to move during a pandemic?

A:

We made this decision in line with our agency mission and duty to ensure we are maximizing our resources in service to the largest number of youth we are able.

The protracted nature of the pandemic was unpredictable, and something outside of our control. Once the funding was awarded, we committed to moving forward with the programming that allows us to care for more children.

Q: Do State eviction protections enacted during the pandemic apply?

A:

The family voluntarily entered into an occupancy agreement that provided them a home with free rent and paid for utilities. While the agreement stipulates 30 days' notice, the family was originally given 45 days notice which was extended to 60 days. Upon being offered further extension, the family declined. The agreement in place with this family is not a traditional rent/lease agreement and therefore does not fall under the eviction moratorium.

Q: Was this decision based on financial gain for the agency?

A:

No. this decision was not based on financial gain. It was mission-driven and made in order to more fully utilize our resources to serve an increased number of youth.

Q: Is this family being displaced to make room for children currently being held by the Federal Government?

A:

This program was not created in response to, or in conjunction with the current situation of children needing housing who are at the border. The staffed residential program model houses Unaccompanied Children between the ages of 12-17.

Unaccompanied Children are young people who either arrive or are already living in the United States without a parent or legal guardian to care for them and without legal immigration status at the time of arrival.

It is possible that youth, if determined eligible, may be referred through to the program at some point. To learn more about the Unaccompanied Children program, click here.