Girl Scouts are Leaders. We focus on what girls need to thrive in a rapidly changing world.
The Foster Care Landscape: Where we are and where we want to go
The number of foster care youth in the United States is rising. Nationally, there are 423, 773 youth in the foster care system. This trend is evident in our own state of Arizona. Recent data indicates 9,685 youth in Arizona are in foster care. In our own community here in Pima County nearly 2,400 youth are part of the foster care world.
The increase of children in the foster care system is troublesome as this sector of the population fails to receive adequate funding and resource for the important services they provide. National research has already shown that youth with a foster care history are at a greater risk for lower educational attainment, joblessness, poverty, mental illness, and criminal behavior. Research also indicates that in addition to their propensity for at-risk behavior, foster care youth may not attain the life skills needed to handle future challenges that arise once they age out of the system.
What can be done?
Despite these obstacles, foster care youth can succeed with access to the right resources and support. Such assistance will greatly help in the transition from child to adult. The Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona- Sahuaro would like to lend a hand in this area and supplement the wonderful services already being provided by the community. While one traditionally thinks of Girl Scouts as “cookies, camp, and crafts,” the work of Girl Scouts has truly evolved to address the systemic problems of today. Just as the world around us changes, so too does Girl Scouts mission and programs. That is why we have piloted a program that is responsive to the realities faced by girls we serve since we firmly believe Girl Scouts is for every girl.
Thanks to support from the Kinship and Adoption Resource and Education Family Center (KARE), an all-inclusive center for grandparents, relatives and adoptive parents caring for children under the age of 18, we have been able to bring our Girl Scout program out into the community. At KARE we have piloted a unique curriculum that addresses the needs of foster care youth in a comfortable Girl Scout setting.
The overall objective of our Girl Scout curriculum is to assist and prepare youth who will one day be transitioning out of the foster care system. Course topics range from self-esteem, self-dependency, sisterhood, following and inventing dreams and aspirations, environmental cooking and meal planning, self-respect, incarceration prevention, communication skills, college preparedness, apartment hunting, the importance of community service, financial literacy and education. Because of the changing day to day realties our girls face, our curriculum is fluid. Rather than maintaining a rigid week by week syllabus, we adapt our curriculum to best fit the needs of the individual girls.
With our success at KARE we would like to expand our program to serve others and raise awareness of foster care issues in our community.
For more information about our program please contact Shannon Archuleta at firstname.lastname@example.org.