Providing Lasting Unconditional Support
Nationally, each year an estimated 25,000 youth emancipate or “age out” of the foster care system, over 1,000 in Illinois alone.
A significant amount of youth in the child welfare system will never be placed in a permanent home and will age out of foster care with few supports or opportunities. Without the skills needed to navigate adulthood, these are the young people most at risk for human trafficking, gangs, homelessness, credit fraud, substance abuse, and unplanned pregnancy.
But we can change that!
Safe Families PLUS (Providing Lasting Unconditional Support) Mentors are key partners in helping older youth successfully transition to adulthood. Mentors are paired with a youth or young adult between the ages of 14 to 21, and are expected to commit to at least a year of meeting on a consistent basis. Mentors can serve as “anchor families” to youth, providing a safety net to fall back on after leaving the child welfare system.
Mentoring can take the form of:
- Going out for a meal
- Exploring the city or nature
- Phone calls and emails to check in
- Celebrating holidays and birthdays
- Teaching life skills such as banking
- Educational and career exploration
- Providing transportation
- Parenting support
- Serving as an emergency contact
If you are interested in welcoming an older teenager or young adult into your family network, and you are located in the Greater Chicago area, you can begin the application here: http://safe-families.org/mentor-application/
For more information, contact safefamiliesPLUS@safefamilies.net or call 773-653-2252.