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Foster Parents Share the Heartbreaking Reasons They Choose to Foster Teens [Videos]

foster teens

When youth experience abuse, neglect or other family challenges and cannot safely remain their home, they are placed in out-of-home care while their parents build skills to reunite with them. Throughout Kansas, hundreds of youth in foster care suffer from elevated mental, behavioral or medical needs and need loving families to provide them with love and support. Unfortunately, with more than 13,000 youth in out-of-home care, there’s currently a shortage of foster homes. 

Foster care provides a safe place that allows youth and their birth family an opportunity to resolve conflicts and learn healthy skills so the youth can safely return home. Some birth families need help learning effective parenting skills, overcoming substance abuse, or learning healthy ways to cope with trauma. Foster care allows time for this while attending to the child’s needs. 

Click here to learn more about fostering.

The Devastating Outcomes of Teens in Foster Care Without Loving Homes

More than 15,000 18-year-olds will age out of foster care without reuniting with their families or finding an adoptive family. Only 5% of all youth adopted in 2017 were 15-18 years old. These teens won’t have anyone to call about a flat tire, job interviews, first dates, and so much more. Fostering and/or adopting these kids into a loving environment can impact their lives in a big, meaningful way.

Teens who age out of foster care without a permanent support system are at increased risk of homelessness, young parenthood, low educational attainment, and other issues. Youth who age out of foster care are less likely to graduate high school and earn a college education as well.

As a result, they often face challenges in finding gainful employment. For example, only half of youth who were once in foster care finish high school, and less than 3% graduate college. These devastating outcomes are often a result of emotional issues, difficulty achieving passing grades, and mental health challenges. However, committed foster parenting can help mitigate their risk status. 

Hear from Foster Parents Who Care for Teens with Elevated Needs | The Stahls and the Friedemanns

Jonathan and Katie Stahl and Corey and Bobbie Friedemann said Yes! to accepting teen placements and haven’t looked back.

Bobbie Freidemann cited her own experience as a teen in foster care as one of her primary motivations to become a foster parent. She felt that she could be more effective with this group.

Watch Bobbie’s Story

Jonathan Stahl is an educator who teaches high school-aged children with special needs. He and his wife Katelyn initially wanted to do just adoption through foster care. They had struggled to start their own family, and with Jonathan himself being an adoptee, they were all in for adoption. Toward the end of their training class, Jonathan and Katelyn decided to become licensed foster parents.

Watch Jonathan’s Story

The Need for Treatment Foster Care Providers

For teens who have significant physical, mental or behavioral needs, having skilled, highly trained foster parents is essential. Treatment foster care (TFC) provides youth with these elevated needs more therapeutic support than that of traditional foster care. TFC providers receive more training, support and resources than those who provide traditional foster care.  

Treatment Foster Care Providers: 

  • Undergo free, specialized training to meet the needs of the youth in your care 
  • Play a large role as part of the youth’s treatment team 
  • Have access to 24/7 support from KVC, including therapists and additional supervision for the youth as well as support groups and therapists for TFC parents 
  • And much more!

I’m Interested in Being Trained to Become a Treatment Foster Care Home. How Do I Get Started? 

If you have any questions or are interested in learning more, click here and one of our recruiters will be in contact with you! 

kansas foster care