The journey that youth face in the foster system isn’t an easy one, and one of the greatest challenges is a lack of available foster homes. 2023 data from Oregon shows an average of 5.4 moves per youth in care in 2023 when measured over a 1,000 day time frame. At GOBHI, we do everything we can to help close the gap. Our goal in providing therapeutic foster care is not only to help children achieve and maintain stability, but also to keep families connected and build up strong, healthy communities.
We've made some big strides in expanding our program in the past year. With the support of local families, we've gone from 43 full-time youth served in 2022 to 63 full-time youth served in 2023. That's a 32% growth! We aim to continue this progress in 2024.
We Need Your Help
Oregon's foster care system is in crisis. Foster youth face a crucial lack of in-home care that only certified foster homes can address, and we need your help to open new foster homes.
This is especially true for youth working through more than one behavioral or mental health challenge. Youth referred to GOBHI Foster Care might struggle with anything from poor social skills and impulsivity to anxiety and depression. Many suffer from generational as well as individual trauma.
These are the youth most likely to move from placement to placement in search of a good placement fit. It's disruptive for the youth and makes already difficult young lives even harder to navigate when moving from place to place; only 49% of Oregon foster youth have a high school diploma or GED by the time they're 21, and about a quarter of them are likely to have a serious brush with the justice system by age 17. Therapeutic foster care can help many of these youth find success with access to support that traditional foster care doesn’t offer.
We can provide that extra support needed to help achieve stability, but only with help from you and others within their own communities. The more homes we have available across Oregon, the closer we can keep youth to their home neighborhoods, schools, and existing support systems.
And We’ll Help You Too
The benefit of a smaller, more concentrated program is that GOBHI foster parents receive a lot of training and one-on-one support.
To maximize the success of our foster parents and the youth placed in their homes, we provide a minimum of 39 hours of training before a first placement. Our training program includes individual, group, and online opportunities for learning. Once certified, we still require at least 16 additional hours of training per year to keep your skills fresh and as relevant as possible to the youth in your care. This way, you can provide them with an environment tailored to their age, personality, situation, and trauma history.
Every home has a staff member assigned to support the family through a youth’s entire placement. The team member assigned to your home will swing by once a week to work directly with the youth, including skill-building exercises and talking about their week. If there's friction between what’s happening around the youth and what they’re going through on the inside, we help come up with plans to avoid or ease those conflicts.
Outside of these regular home visits, foster parents can always touch base with the GOBHI team as challenges arise. We offer regular Foster Parent Power Hour meetings where we review a different training topic each month and you can talk about what’s been happening in your home. Even outside of business hours, we have a 24-7 support line for emergencies and urgent questions, so you'll never be on your own.
A typical full-time placement will last anywhere from 6 to 24 months. Therapeutic foster care prepares youth to transition back to traditional care. Or, ideally, to permanency! This can mean returning to their family of origin, adoption, or beginning their adult life.
Other Ways To Encourage New Foster Homes
Being a foster parent means making a difference in a foster youth’s life. The security of a safe home and a sense of belonging helps reduce their vulnerability to abuse or exploitation. You help shape their future, their mind, and how they view the world, and getting involved to change a life is absolutely going to impact yours.
At the same time, fostering a child is no walk in the park. There are good days, hard days, and plenty of challenges and learning experiences for everyone involved. If you’re not at a point where you can foster right now, that’s okay. But even so, there’s still plenty you can do!
Foster parents are reimbursed for their time and efforts, but so are those who refer them to our program. Let someone know about GOBHI Foster Care and to put your name down on their initial application when they apply. If they become a certified foster home with GOBHI, you receive $500! We'll also send another $500 once they have provided one year of foster care.
This referral bonus is available to both individuals and service groups. If you’re part of an association or club that strives to serve your community and would be interested in a partnership, let us know via this contact form and we’ll be in touch.
Did you like this blog post? Receive notifications of our newest posts by signing up for our e-Newsletter.