Children and youth in foster care can sometimes receive a very bad stereotype. Society tends to see them as undependable or always getting in trouble in school or with the law. Youth in care do not have parents asking them about school or if they have any questions about homework. Many do not have a reliable adult making sure they attend school daily and that no barriers are in the way of accomplishing and succeeding in school.
Treehouse, a nonprofit organization, is trying to change that. Treehouse was formed in 1988 in Seattle Washington and is currently expanding its services statewide. It was formed to provide assistance and support for youth to finish school and for them to have future goals for after graduation.
Stacy Bailey is an education specialist for Treehouse. She meets with youth in care weekly, usually at their school, to discuss attendance, behavior, and their classes at school. Stacy stated in a news article done by the HeraldNet, “I wish for people to be empathetic to how challenging it can be for youth to move around from place to place, person to person. They’re trying to find themselves while dealing with trauma that most people can’t imagine at that age.”
As Stacy stated, most people can’t imagine facing what these youth face at such a young age. School becomes a barrier as many youth move homes several times. While they try to stay in the same school, that isn’t always possible. These youth have to battle the complexities of high school as well as deal with the trauma and hardships of moving and changing schools. To do so, would be stressful and hard on anyone.
Treehouse is also expanding their services to assist youth in care with other needs outside of school. One of these needs is obtaining a driver’s license. A collaboration between Treehouse and the State’s Department of Social and Health Services Children’s Administration was created to help and pay for foster youth to obtain a license and insurance.
These youth in care deal with many adversities. It is wonderful when agencies like Treehouse can come alongside and at least be there to walk foster children through and support them through their high school and teen years.