The Need for Peace4Kids
For 20 years, Peace4Kids has shaped a community environment that focuses on the unique, social-emotional needs of young people who have experienced trauma through the foster care system.
While youth entering into foster care is a national concern, Los Angeles represents a unique climate by sheltering the most foster youth in the country. A disproportionate number of these youth are minorities. The LA African-American youth population hovers around 9%, yet accounts for 30% of youth in foster care.
35,000 Los Angeles youth in foster care face hard statistics:
- Over 50% of youth are arrested or in jail (Zill, May 2011)
- Approximately 25% of emancipated foster youth have lived on the street or in shelters (Casey Family Programs, 2008);
- Half will be unemployed and 33% receive public assistance in their years following emancipation (National Center for Youth Law, 2010) [in part because 55 percent do not even finish high school] (Frerer, Sosenko, & Henke, 2013).
- Young women in foster care are 2.5 times more likely to become pregnant during their teenage years than their non-foster-care peers (Bilaver, & Courtney, 2006).
Peace4Kids serves youth and young adults with a range of foster care experiences. All have encountered degrees of trauma, loss, poverty and instability. These events frequently contribute to poor social-emotional development and can establish a path of more challenging outcomes.
We’ve found that progress is amplified when emotional needs are met. This has solidified our focus around improved outcomes relating to education, health, employment and independent living through social emotional well-being.
The foster care experience has generated a cultural heritage that is informed by those who have lived through it. These discoveries must be captured or shared with future generations to help them navigate the lifespan of the foster care journey. Peace4Kids is actively capturing this undocumented cultural knowledge because it is essential to success.
At Peace4Kids, we “uplift” what is working for generations of foster care alumni, so that current youth in care are provided a road map for success. Youth discover practical tools for navigating relationships with caregivers and biological family, starting careers, managing educational goals, and self-regulating the emotional triggers that often make them feel different from their non-foster care peers. At Peace4Kids we understand that there is no terminal solution for youth entering the foster care system. As long as there are birth parents who lack the necessary bandwidth, resources and supports, there will be a need for the community to galvanize in support of our children.