WHY ARE OUR PROGRAMS IMPORTANT?
In California, 65,000 children and youth are in the foster care system, far more than any other single state. Each year, more than 4,000 emancipate. Between 2003 and 2008, over 26,500 youth emancipated from California’s foster care system. An estimated 20 percent ended up homeless, 5,300 young people went from state care to homelessness in that period of time.
California is failing in an essential duty to children in its care: to prepare them for adulthood and to survive independently. There is no magic switch that at age 18 delivers the skills, knowledge, and support necessary for survival and success. Just as the state has a duty to provide appropriate shelter, food, and health care to children in care, it has a duty to address the crucial developmental needs of childhood and adolescence. The consequences are severe for young people who enter adulthood without this guidance and support.
There are approximately 424,000 foster youth nationwide. Despite child welfare’s efforts to prevent the removal of children from their parents, the number of children in foster care has been increasing.
* Currently, we are at an all time high.
* San Bernardino County’s rate of children entering foster care (5.0 per 1,000 children) is greater than the statewide average of 3.0 per 1,000 children and all other counties compared.
Many children in the foster care system have suffered some form of serious abuse or neglect. About 30% of children in foster care have severe emotional, behavioral, or developmental problems. Physical health problems are also common.
Some children are never reunified or adopted, and the effects are damaging.
Foster children are more likely to become victims of sex trafficking.
Foster children are more likely to become homeless, incarcerated and/or rely on government assistance.
Foster children attain lower levels of education.
WHAT IS THE OVERALL OBJECTIVE?
Our goal is to offer programs that support multiple stages of human development using a holistic approach to care. This approach to care reinforces the tools and resources that clients learn from their work with A Step Ahead Foundation and helps ensure lasting change.
A Step Ahead Foundation will use a innovative coaching approach to equip young women 15-24 years of age with the necessary skills to help them with the difficult transition to adulthood and independence.
*Transitions- Support young women that are emancipating from foster care and help teen mothers overcome the challenges they face as they enter adulthood.
*Education- Help youth secure their high school diploma or GED and enter post-secondary education or learn a trade.
*Employment- Prepare youth for employment and a career.
*Housing- Will provide a safe and stable environment for youth as they learn to thrive as young adults.
We believe all women can embrace who they are,
can define their future, and can change the world.