Keanna and Jaci Johnson from Foster VC Kids love the organization.
Keanna, age 18, is sharing the story of her life-long foster experience with the hope of encouraging caring adults to welcome a youth into their home as well as inspiring other foster children. She tells prospective foster/resource parents about the positive impact they could make, “even if the stay is temporary, your relationship could last a lifetime.” Keanna is a youth Ambassador with Foster VC Kids, a program of Ventura County’s Children and Family Services, which connects teens and children with caring resource families who can provide a safe, stable environment for youth in care.
Keanna knows about foster homes; since she was born, she has lived in 36 different foster homes and two group (congregate care) homes. She says that every birthday and Christmas, she “wished for a family.” On her 36th foster placement, her wish came true. “I wanted a home and family… I finally found one.” Despite the challenges she’s endured, Keanna offers words of hope to other foster teens that “it does get better. Don’t give up on yourself.”
Foster children and teens come into care when they have been exposed to abuse or neglect that impacts their safety. Foster VC Kids works to strengthen families by providing support and resources to reunify children with their parents whenever it is safe to do so. And when reunification is not possible, Foster VC Kids ensures the youth are placed with loving resource parents (foster or relative caregivers) who have the support to provide safety, permanency and quality care.
Last June, Keanna graduated from high school with good grades and is now is transitioning to adulthood. She credits her foster mom Miranda with teaching her life skills like how to write a resume, fill out a job application, and obtain a driver’s license. At Miranda’s home, Keanna says for the first time in her life “we ate dinner together like a real family.
Now that Keanna is 18, she has elected to participate in extended foster care – legislation enacted with the California Fostering Connections to Success Act (AB12) to support older youth as they transition from foster care into adulthood and independent living.
For community members who have a desire to help youth in need, welcoming a teen is an opportunity to change a life by providing a loving, safe and nurturing environment during a critical time in a young life.
Recognized as a best practice leader statewide in the family recruitment and support component of child welfare, Foster VC Kids provides resource families with ongoing support services, trauma-informed training, and mentorship to enhance the safety, permanency and well-being of Ventura County’s youth and families. Learn how Foster VC Kids is making a difference throughout Ventura County, www.fostervckids.org