We are living in a difficult time, one that has forced all of us to rearrange our lives. Children and their families in Montgomery County’s Child Welfare System have been particularly hard hit. In September there were 436 children in foster care in the county. Additionally, there are children receiving services in 95 homes where, despite a finding of abuse and neglect, the situation was not deemed serious enough to place the children into foster care.
The 4MK board continues to partner with social workers in Child Welfare to help. We have been concentrating on families and, particularly, on older foster youth as they move ahead with their lives. The state of Maryland also is focusing on the hardships these young adults face. Maryland is now allowing them to stay in the foster care system for an extra six months, even when they would have aged out at twenty one. This will affect eleven young adults. But so many of them still need services, including help with rent, support for transportation to school and jobs, and money for basic living needs, and we can help with some of these.
Here are just a handful of requests Montgomery County social workers asked us to fill in the last six months. We were able to fill all of them because of your support:
Helping with housing costs for ten older youth moving into their first apartments
- Purchasing fourteen Chromebooks to assist with online learning
- Awarding nine college scholarships for youth graduating from high school
- Paying for transportation so a mother could visit her daughter in preparation for reunification
- Buying a large dining room table for an aunt who had four foster kids placed with her in addition to her own already large family. Now they can all eat together
- Purchasing bunk beds for four children who now live with relatives after they were removed from their parents’ home
- Providing special camps and gym activities for foster children whose camps were closed due to Covid-19
Let us introduce to you some young people your contributions have helped:
N is a young woman just leaving the foster care system. She loves graphic design and is a self-taught artist. Her designs for filters were recently accepted by Instagram. 4MK, through your donations, bought her a MacBook, the key tool she needs to pursue both her education and her passion for graphic art.
J is a kind and resilient young person preparing to move into her first apartment. She has completed two semesters at Montgomery College in addition to having finished her Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) degree. She currently is focused on working and saving money. With your contributions, 4MK helped pay her rent, and J now is managing her expenses and looking forward to being on her own.
And here is how L expressed her thanks for 4MK:
“I am a youth in foster care and I had the support of 4Montgomery’s Kids. They helped me when I was pregnant and needed baby supplies. I am thankful because I was not working because of COVID, and did not have anything for my baby. They helped me a lot.”