The New York Foundling’s CEO, Bill Baccaglini, finally points out "the elephant in the room" and said what needed to be said:
"I think we can all agree that the figures above are unacceptable [referring to youth aging out of foster care statistics].The fact is, we have all failed to adequately prepare our youth who grow up in foster care for life on their own."
Thank you, CEO Bill Baccaglini, for using the words. We have failed these adult youth. Failed. And we are still failing them. And this "we" includes me.
Which is why I've been volunteering with Forward Paths Foundation, Inc. trying to make bloody sense, along with many others, of why our adult youth are still homeless.
And its refreshing to see another organization in the state of NY who are placing a high standard of excellence for these kids & adult youth.
Do I have specifics? Of course, I have specifics...
They launched a program called Road to Success, aimed at helping youth in foster care graduate high school and succeed in college.
In less than 2 years after the program’s inception:
1. 95% of the participating 9th-11th graders were promoted to the next grade at the end of the year;
2. 80% are projected to graduate in four years, compared to the general population of New York City, whose four-year graduation rate is only slightly higher than 62 percent;
3. In the 2014-15 academic year, the annual rate of four-year college enrollment among youth in their foster care programs increased by 400%.
For those students who are not college bound, they are working with partner organizations to develop a new program that will train these youth in the type of technology skills that will ultimately qualify them for good-paying jobs.
This is what success looks like people. This organization is refusing to operate under the same stupid, failing platforms in the state of New York (and across the nation).
So what did they do?
Created their own platform. Operate things their own way. And only partner with other organizations of the same mindset.
Their tutors not only meet with these kids every week. But they shoot them text messages during the week to remind them of assignments. And texts of encouragement to keep them inspired.
Do you want to know why they engage in these activities? It wasn't outlined in a some stupid checklist. The CEO said, "We need to treat these children as our own."
That's their organizational identity. Their core value. It permeates everything it does as an organization. From top management to the front-line tutors who are taking it upon themselves to send encouraging text messages throughout the week.
Hmmm. Sort of like a family. Is it starting to sink in?
And the proof is in the pudding. Look at their results. Look at it.
You cannot tell me that these adult youth cannot succeed. You cannot tell me that there's no funding dollars. You cannot tell me there's no volunteers. You cannot tell me there's no resources.
We have all of the above. Its being wasted atrociously. But we have tons of it.
Our resources are being funneled blindly into failing organizations. To top-level administrators who can't seem to figure out a way to get an adult youth into a permanent home. Or slap a GED or HS diploma in their hand.
Which is why our Governor in the state of Florida had no other choice but to increase funding for the PACE Center for girls by $693,000 in 2014.
Despite this organization racking up a whopping 18% performance success rate in getting GEDs or high school diplomas in their student's hands.
But that's our standard now. And we call it success. For the love of Peter, Paul and Mary Mother of Magdalene.
Not only is it stupid to call these performance percentage numbers a success, but it's insane. Doing something over-and-over again and expecting different results is the exact definition of insanity.
Enough is enough. This is insane. Just stop for a second. What will our children's children say about us? Allowing adult youth who leave foster care to remain homeless. Think about that thought for a second.
Not taking a stand for the very things we know damn well are true. And this stupid-behind narrative about how we as the nation can't get adult youth into permanent homes is insane. It's nauseating.
You want to get into it? Then let's get into it. Most of these agencies and organizations across this nation are continuing to operate under failing policy & procedures intended to:
1. Isolate their financial positions to sustain their own fiscal agendas.
Not to put funding dollars in the hands of their front-line staff/mangers and its target populations. And getting adult youth off the street. And into a permanent home situation. And getting a GED, HS diploma or any other vocational certification.
2. Preserve their own market-share positions in federal, state, county and local funding dollars.
Not to collaborate in an open platform to achieve success for young adults. Putting aside the petty competition for different revenue streams and the use of arbitrary rules & processes. Both that do absolutely nothing but impede these young adults' ability to succeed.
3. Support their stupid contracts with failing agencies/organizations in order to demonstrate the insane need to renew them every 5 years. And justify their failing organizational existence.
Not to base funding criteria on the use of evidence-based practices and high performance standards.
So if these agencies/organizations refuse to double-down and scrap these out-dated modes of organizational operation that is crippling the success efforts of our adult youth, then we need to begin creating our own platforms. Like The NY Foundling organization.
This is a paradigm shift. A fundamental way of shifting our thinking. And getting off of these failing buses of mediocrity. That are leading our adult youth to a life of homelessness. Dependence on government entitlements. Without an education.
And having to navigate through stupid levels of stupidity to get anything done in their lives when working with these failing agencies/organizations. It's demoralizing to these young adults. To not be treated with dignity and respect.
To dishonor their efforts toward independence - their way. All because it doesn't conform with how your organization "does things". Because your organization is too rigid. Too inflexible. Full of arbitrary rules and processes that impede actual success.
And to top it all off. Set up so organizationally stupid that you can't figure out problems. You can cash paychecks. But can't figure out problems. That's asinine.
So way to go The NY Foundling, Inc. Setting a standard of performance worth noting.
Happy Hump Day Eve!! Way to go Golden State Warriors!! 2015 NBA Champions!!