Youth In Government CareOthers, Homelessness , Relationships
Youth Who Have Been in Government Care Are Five Times More Likely to Die Than Their Peers
Rachel transitioned smoothly out of foster care because of your support and prayers. In the weeks leading up to her 19th birthday, it looked like Rachel was going to crash and burn. She had nowhere to live, didn’t have a job, was given a new social worker, and didn’t have any plans for what was next. Over the years, it’s been a long road of two steps forward and one step back with Rachel.
Lately, Leia Newland, one of Street Life’s staff, has been mentoring her. Prior to Rachel “aging out,” Leia also served on her support team, alongside her social worker and other case workers from other supporting agencies. As her birthday quickly approached, it looked like Rachel was about to become another failed youth of the foster care system. Another statistic. She risked literally becoming another casualty of bureaucracy and arm’s length charity.
According to the BC Coroners Service report in May 2018, youth in care are five times more likely to die than their counterparts in the general population. This is one of the many reasons why at Street Life we’re committed to serving youth until their 26th birthday.
Through nothing short of a miracle and God’s providence, Leia and the support team found housing for Rachel. Being housed, Rachel then went on to graduate from high school. She’s now found employment and is working full time. She’s paying rent, working hard, and taking steps towards post‐secondary education.
Street Life has worked with Rachel for many years now. In her younger years she used to party, get high, and sell drugs in the community. It’s been a long, hard journey of walking with Rachel, but this year it finally paid off. Over the summer, Leia and I were able to celebrate with Rachel. We took her berry-picking for the first time in her life, had a nice dinner together, and finished off our evening at the drive‐in theatre. Rachel had to get up at 5 a.m. the next day to work, but she was ecstatic to share these experiences with us and talk about the deep topics of dreams, faith, family drama, and continuing her education. She decided it was worth it to be tired the next day.
Rachel is the reason why we do what we do. During her time in foster care, the Youth Unlimited team has been one of her greatest supports and a pseudo‐family that she’s felt cared by. While Leia and myself have spent countless hours investing into Rachel, it wouldn’t be possible without you. You made this happen! You changed Rachel’s life, and now she’s a working young woman who’s pursuing her dreams.
When you give to Street Life, or support a Street Life staff member, you invest into lives like Rachel. She is one of 226 youth we serve.
Written by: Jason Hradaway
Photo credit: gratisography via Pexels