Name of Nonprofit Organization: Facing Foster Care in Alaska (FFCA)
Your name: Clare Ross
Short Project Description (50 words):
We seek funding to launch the Office of Youth Empowerment, a new partnership between FFCA and the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Child Welfare Academy. The program, one of the first of its kind in the nation, will focus on youth advocacy, college enrichment, training, and mentoring programs for foster youth across the state.
The Big Why (300 words):
The picture for foster care in Alaska is very grim: Alaska has the second highest per capita number of foster youth waiting for adoptive homes in the nation and social workers have 30+ cases when the ideal is 12.
This problem wreaks havoc on our society because youth who don’t have equity in access to services face overwhelming burdens that make it extremely challenging for them to break the cycle of trauma, abuse and poverty. As adults, children who’ve spent long periods of time in multiple foster care homes are more likely to encounter problems such as unemployment, homelessness, incarceration and early pregnancy; less than 10% of foster youth graduate from college.
FFCA and the UAA Child Welfare Academy seek to break this cycle by creating the Office of Youth Empowerment, a ground-breaking new program that aims to make systematic change in Alaska’s foster care system by providing a more thorough statewide support network for youth in care, providing enhanced training and research for child welfare workers, influencing foster care policy and becoming the go-to place for training, education and policy for child welfare.
The program will build upon FFCA’s existing network of peer support for foster youth throughout the state of Alaska that is a lifeline for many foster youth. Founded in 2003 by a handful of youth, FFCA has grown to become the state’s leading organization on foster care reform and networking, and has received national recognition for its work. FFCA provides foster youth an opportunity to share their personal experiences about life in foster care in order to raise community awareness. Members of FFCA regularly serve on panels designed to educate child welfare staff and government officials about the realities of foster care and areas needing improvement.
The Bottom Line (Budget summary and what they’re asking for):
We have 75% of funding in-hand to launch this program and need to raise $20,000 by May 2018. The Anchorage (Downtown) Rotary is hosting a fundraiser on Feb. 8. FFCA will throw a grand-opening fundraiser and send a fundraising letter to our members this spring. We anticipate these efforts will bring in about $15,000. We are asking the Alaska Women’s Giving Circle for $4,000 to close our anticipated gap.