LAFAYETTE, La. — An Acadiana organization called Family Connection is aiming to help kids who are aging out of the foster care system successfully get on their feet.
The transitional housing program will help those between the ages of 16 and 21 find a job, get into school, and even teach them how to budget.
Family Connection works with various groups like Habitat for Humanity, SLCC, Arch of Acadiana, and LPSS, which refer children to the nonprofit.
Once a child is referred, Family Connection begins a screening process, pairs them with a case manager, and puts together a team based on the child's needs.
"We want them to be sustainable within society. We don't want it to be another 'home' for them, but we want for them to be their own person, being the best version of themselves within the community of people that love them," explained vice president La'toya Guillory.
Guillory, who has worked in social services for more than 16 years, says Family Connections was inspired by a child she worked with who aged out of the system and didn't have a good place to go after leaving. She says she wants to bridge the gap and help children create sustainable lives.
Family Connection is offering classes on topics such as money management, career preparation, and more starting in June.
Marketing chair Gerren Benoit says the work is important because it's helping a part of foster care that is often under-served.
"People think of [foster care] as kids being taken care of for a certain amount of time, but no one thinks about what happens after they get to a certain age," he said.
"It's a need that a lot of people don't know about because it's not top of the mind, not something we see on a regular basis," added president Kevin Guillory.
"If we can help get the word out and say we have this entire population that's being forgotten about...if we can come together as a community, we can make a difference in their lives."
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