National Youth Advocate Program (NYAP) of South Carolina has recently increased efforts on growing their network of families to become licensed foster parents and share their hearts and homes with a teenager in need of care and support.
The need is urgent. Recent statistics show that in communities across the state, 43% of foster children ages 13-17 are not in a family setting due to a shortage of foster homes and therefore, the recruitment, training and licensing of new foster parents is desperately needed now more than ever.
In response to the call for loving adults in the lives of these youth, NYAP recently launched their foster care initiative, focused on teenagers, sibling groups and youth in need of specialized care. Trauma and related behavioral, mental and physical health issues have long been identified as prevalent in children and youth within the foster care system. These youth have experienced crisis within their families, some with histories of abuse and neglect, followed by the trauma inherent in separation. NYAP’s staff of professionals have specialized training, including trauma focused care, to successfully work with these children, youth and the foster families who extend themselves and their homes to their care.
According to the South Carolina Department of Social Services, of the more than 4,000 children in the foster care system, nearly one third are teenagers. Foster teens are at a much higher risk for homelessness, incarceration and substance abuse, and NYAP is devoted to working with families and individuals to provide teens with the care necessary to succeed in life. Foster teens specifically are in critical need of caregiver attention, love and support as they begin their early years of adulthood.
“In the state of South Carolina, there is a shortage of, and a great need for, foster homes to serve teens and youth with unique needs. NYAP’s South Carolina therapeutic foster care program is committed to answering this call by recruiting and supporting foster parents, stepping up to care for and provide a safe, nurturing home environment for these youth," says Miriam Smith, Foster Care Program Manager for NYAP's Columbia and North Charleston offices.
With the beginning of their therapeutic foster care services in South Carolina, NYAP’s goal is to ensure every youth in need of individualized care in the state of South Carolina has a home. “Our program is trauma-informed, family-centered and solution-focused in its approach with those served," Miriam said. "We are committed to meeting this need and providing an array of high-quality support services to assist our foster families in making a positive impact on the life of a child.”
Those interested in learning how to become a foster parent and changing a life forever are encouraged to call 800-686-8958 and talk to one of our trained staff or visit our website at www.nyap.org to join us in building a foster parent network in our community.