For Foster Care Youth, Mentors Matter

Every day, young people in foster care face important decisions about their education, home placements and family connections. Many foster youth are moved from living situation to living situation and the relationships they’ve built with their biological and foster families, teachers and other caring adults are disrupted, leaving the transported foster youth to start from scratch.

We’ve spent our personal and professional lives working to create supports necessary for young people in the foster care system to thrive. For the past seven years, the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth has brought current and former foster youth to Capitol Hill to shadow their own member of Congress and share their experiences within the child welfare system. Throughout our work, we’ve consistently heard from foster youth that mentors matter and they’re right; a committed mentor can have a positive and permanent effect in any person’s emotional, social and developmental well-being.

Young people in foster care sometimes feel isolated from their peers and adults, and the presence of a well-trained mentor can help them reconnect and build relationships. Many young people in foster care experience trauma that may contribute to unhealthy mental and physical outcomes, academic underachievement, substance use and homelessness. We know that young people in foster care are resilient, but they could also benefit from someone by their side through their challenges and …

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