by Audrey Asistio, Foster Kids Struggling in Tough Economy CBS KIMA TV • April 13, 2009 YAKIMA --
Once Tim Byrd graduated high school, foster care was finished, and he was on his own. Byrd explained, "They have their parents to fall back on if they don't have a job. I have to support myself, so I have to find someway to get money." And in a tough economy, getting that money is even harder.
Casey Family Programs Transitional Services Coordinator, Traci DeOchoa said, "Tim is a perfect example. He's bright, he's motivated. He really is doing 5 job applications a week and he has not received a single call back and that's got to be frustrating." Job competition is at its highest. Byrd is competing against degree holders and experienced adults. "
It's a do or die situation," Byrd said. But he does not have parents to live with, while searching for a job. "They have zero coming into the game and though they qualify for low income housing, we're talking 2-3 year waiting list in our valley, and these are kids who need resources now," explained DeOchoa Byrd added, "Co-signing is a big deal even on bills. It is a lot if you are going to try to buy something." Many foster children do not have co-signers, credit, money or support.
Ochoa said many foster children are barely getting by, "Without any real positive community connections, it's really hard." It is really hard because these foster kids are fighting for a better life. But with limited opportunities, that better life is going to be harder to come by. DeOchoa adds that they are always willing to help foster children getting out of their program. All they need to do is ask. Currently, they are helping Byrd find a job and get into a college.
If you want to foster a child or if you are a teen who just got out of foster care that needs help, you can log onto Casey Family Program's website: www.casey.org for more information.
Oringial Article, CBS KIMA TV retrieved on April 14, 2009