Ellen Lockyer, KSKA – Anchorage
May is Foster Care Awareness Month, and Anchorage’s Big Brothers, Big Sisters is teaming up with Covenant House to start a volunteer mentoring program to help foster children who are cycling out of foster care.
Alaska has about 2,000 children in foster care. Almost half of them may face homelessness at some point in their lives after they leave their foster families.
Nicholas McMillan is program director for Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Alaska in Anchorage.
The mentoring program can start when foster children are as young as sixteen, while they are still living with a family, McMillan says.
Foster children usually cycle out of foster care at age 18 or 21. McMillan says statistics show that after they leave care, many foster youth do not fare well.
McMillan says foster youth often go into other government programs, like welfare or even prison. The mentor program is aimed at changing hat dynamic.
The new pilot program is operating in Anchorage, the Matanuska Susitna area and Fairbanks and is being funded with state grants to the two organizations.
CORRECTION: We misspelled Nicholas McMillan’s name. We apologize for the error.
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