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Foster kids get help for future

Nevada County nonprofit Environmental Alternatives Foster Family Agency is planning to open a transitional home this summer to ease the passage of foster children into adulthood.

Once foster children turn 18, most are out of the foster care system and on their own. Without community or family support, making the transition to adulthood can be especially difficult.

“It’s specifically to prepare them for adulthood,” said Melody Vance, the agency’s foster family program director. “It’s a crash course in how we’re going to get you ready at 18 to be successful.”



According to agency Social Worker Kathryn Lucas, the Transitional Housing Placement Program will serve foster children ages 16 through 18. Those who qualify who have not already completed high school will be expected to do so.

“The idea is to provide a mentoring situation for children transitioning from foster care to independence,” Lucas said. “They will still be supervised but they will be living on their own, holding jobs, buying their own food, paying their own rent and finishing school if they need to do that.”




The home will be in the Grass Valley area and will provide shelter along with access to clothing, transportation and medical treatment, Lucas said.

“They have to interview for this program and be motivated,” Lucas said. “They have to indicate to us that they are willing to do the program.

“It’s not going to be like a traditional group home. This is a privilege program for kids who have demonstrated the ability and willingness to be successful.”

Many children who leave foster care do not have job-seeking skills and may not have completed high school, two main goals of the program, Lucas said.

According to Vance, “We have a program now at Lake Francis Resort in Dobbins. We’re trying to open the one in Grass Valley in another month.”

Environmental Alternatives was founded in 1981 in Quincy, and now provides foster, group and transitional home services for neglected, abused and delinquent children in Nevada, Plumas, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.

To find out more about the new Nevada County transitional program, call Lucas or Program Coordinator Jeremy Vance at 273-7120, or visit the agency office at 525 Sutton Way in the Brunswick Plaza. Vance can also be reached at 570-9981.

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To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail davem@theunion.com or call 477-4237.


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