Meet Brittany. Brittany is 18 years of age, a 2017 graduate, and a Fostering Futures participant. Coming into care around the age of 12, Brittany lived with her first foster home for 5 years. She felt that her first foster mother was a great but that she was not able to be herself while living there. She felt that she couldn’t accomplish what she wanted in order to be successful. Once she turned 18 years of age, Brittany had never gotten a driver’s permit or seen her original birth certificate. Although there were many hardships, there were positives for being a foster care youth – Brittany met a lot of people and felt that going through foster care has helped her to become a young adult and speak up for what she believes in.
Brittany has recently transitioned to her second foster home where she is able to be more independent and free to be her own person. It is within this home that she signed a Voluntary Continuing Services Support Agreement (VSCCA). VSCCA is a written agreement between a youth and an LDSS representative to establish the youth’s participation in Fostering Futures. Brittany decided to stay in care because she did not know if she would have had the support she needed if she had left care. If she had left foster care, she felt that she may not have been able to go to community college and would’ve gotten off track in completing her goals. With Fostering Futures, Brittany can work towards the person she wants to be and her future with fewer obstacles and more stability.
Part of Brittany’s Fostering Futures agreement is to live in a Supervised Independent Living Setting (SIL). An SIL can be any kind of living environment, such as a rental room or an apartment, a foster home, a dormitory, or an Independent Living program as long as it is an approved environment by the LDSS. Brittany has decided to move into an apartment which she feels is appropriate to her desire and readiness for independence. She plans to maintain contact with her current foster family and they would act as part of her support system. She choose an apartment that will be close to her grandparents so she can be there if they need her.
Brittany plans to attend community college for two years where she will study criminology and then transfer to James Madison or Radford University. Brittany’s advice to current foster youth is, “no matter how hard it gets, try to tough it out and stay in foster care because in the end it’ll be worth it”.