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Achieving Milestones with Great Strides
2023 TFFC Annual Report Overview
From the President
As we embark on 2024, I am filled with gratitude and a deep sense of pride in the strides we have made at Tidewater Friends of Foster Care in our mission to serve foster and at-risk youth. It is an honor to share some of our collective achievements and express our heartfelt thanks to the community that has made it all possible.
This year, through the dedicated efforts of our team and the unwavering support of our compassionate donors, partners and friends, we have achieved significant milestones in transforming the lives of young individuals facing adversity. In 2023, we served 1200 foster youth, 546 at-risk or underserved youth, and touched more than 700 families with our programming. We invested $1.3M in creating opportunities and environments for children and families to thrive. We are elated to report that this year we have served more youth than ever before and have witnessed incredible outcomes including, the most seniors to graduate high-school, the best collective academic performance to date, the largest program service participation in our history, and over a 50% increase in program participant persistence over the prior year. These accomplishments underscore the real and tangible impact that your generosity and compassion have had on the youth we serve.
The State of Foster Care
As of the latest available data, there are just over 5000 children in Virginia’s foster care system. This number represents the children who have been placed in the care of foster families or group homes as a result of factors compromising their safety and well-being. While this number is concerning, it is crucial to understand the reasons behind their entry into the foster care system to be able to address the root causes effectively. By examining the population of children in care, the reasons for their entry, the length of their stays, and the outcomes upon exiting care, we gain insight to inform our programming for the future.
Up to 80% of youth in foster care have significant mental health issues as compared to approximately 22% of youth in the general population. Children in foster care also have significantly higher mean physical and behavioral health care costs than those of the overall Medicaid child population—as much as 40% more than their non-foster care peers.
To create opportunities and environments for foster youth and their families to thrive.
To be the most innovative, valuable and inclusive partner in creating community-based support for youth and families in the foster care system.
Tidewater Friends of Foster Care is dedicated to making a difference by providing one-on-one, in-home academic support to help these students succeed. We hire the very best instructors, who curate individualized educational support plans and work with students in their homes, so they can establish strong studying skills independent of the classroom environment. Our tutors are highly-qualified, professional educators, contracted competitively to guarantee that our students are getting the best educational services with accountability—our goal is to ensure that our tutors lend not only to academic progress, but also the overall stability of the lives of the children we serve.
We tutor all subjects and grade levels from Pre-K through College, including vocational studies and GED. This support is provided up to 4 hours per week during the school year and up to 6 hours per week over the summer. This program is supported through donations and foundation grants and is provided at no cost to the family or social service agency. We continue to provide our tutoring services to youth even after they have exited foster care for as long as they need academic support.
How did our students do in the 2022-23 Academic Year?
Foster Care Aware
This year’s Foster Care Aware event was centered around training to equip those working in the field of child welfare, as well as those who foster or are thinking about fostering, with tools that can help improve outcomes for youth in foster care. We partnered with the ATTACh organization and Old Dominion University to create a 2-day symposium that provided top-notch training focusing on trauma-informed parenting and the importance of attachment for children with trauma histories.
Old Dominion University very generously opened their campus to host this year’s Foster Care Aware event, where we held educational lectures, a vendor fair, family fun activities, a children’s playland, and immersive sensory tools for healing trauma. Day one was geared for professionals—social workers, clinicians, and educators—and day two was geared for parents and families. Informative lectures were held for both groups on attachment, trauma-related behaviors in children, and Trust Based Relational Intervention—a model of care developed by Dr. Karyn Purvis and Dr. David Cross at TCU that works on bolstering secure attachments. The symposium was very successful in bringing a vast array of individuals together to share information and best practices within the foster care system.
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1. To ensure every child has a loving family placement capable of meeting their emotional, physical, and psychological needs—through targeted outreach and training initiatives for foster parents.
2. To eliminate placement disruption and systemic recidivism within the foster care system—through comprehensive, on-going support of youth and families across all realms of the child welfare system.
3. To improve long-term outcomes of youth involved in the foster care system—through steadfast and strategic investment in enrichment programs that bridge gaps between publicly available resources and those elements essential to a healthy, happy and rewarding childhood.
Praise for the YMCA!
As an extension of the amazing benefits that extracurriculars have for our youth, TFFC supports YMCA membership for our youth, families and social workers. Through providing Y memberships, we are making a commitment to fostering holistic well-being for the entire foster care system. YMCA members have access to a myriad of benefits that promote physical health, social connectivity, and personal growth. With access to state-of-the-art fitness facilities, families can embark on a journey towards active living, engaging in a variety of exercise programs suitable for all ages. The YMCA’s commitment to community shines through its family-oriented activities and events, providing a platform for bonding and creating lasting memories. The Y is not just a place to exercise; it’s a hub for educational resources, childcare services, and character development programs.
We provide these memberships in partnership with the YMCAs of South Hampton Roads, the Virginia Peninsulas, and new this year, the YMCAs of Greater Richmond. This year TFFC sponsored 353 YMCA family memberships for foster youth, social workers and their family members; all told supporting YMCA membership for over 1000 individuals.
Tons of Activities!
TFFC is proud to support extracurricular activities for youth in foster care and to date has sponsored over 1005 separate activities for 463 kids of all ages. From gymnastics to martial arts, and cooking to drum lessons, we’ve helped foster kids engage in healthy and enriching activities that will benefit them over the long run. In 2023 we supported 235 activities for 135 youth!
2023 Holiday Project Results
Total Number of Wishlists Fufilled In 2023
Developement & Investment
Through the generous contribution of donors, sponsors and supporters, TFFC has invested $4.5M in improving outcomes for the foster youth of our community since our founding in 2016. Aligned with our mission, we have made strategic investments to create meaningful and lasting impacts in the lives of foster children and the families who care for them. We are committed to ensuring that every child served receives the very best services, with the most efficient use of resources possible.
Outlook for 2024
As we look to the future, we stand at the threshold of exciting opportunities and continued growth at TFFC. The coming year promises to be a transformative chapter in our journey to serve foster and at-risk youth, and we are eager to share our outlook for the months ahead.
1. Expansion of Reach and Impact: In the upcoming year, we are dedicated to broadening our reach to ensure that our programs and services touch the lives of even more youth in need. By forging new partnerships and enhancing existing collaborations, we aim to create a more extensive support network that empowers young individuals across diverse communities.
2. Innovative Program Development: At TFFC, we understand the importance of adaptability and innovation. In the coming year, we will introduce new and innovative programs designed to address the evolving needs of foster and at-risk youth. Whether it’s leveraging technology for educational support or creating mentorship and coaching models that resonate with today’s youth, our commitment to cutting-edge solutions remains unwavering.
3. Emphasis on Education and Skill Building: Education is a powerful tool for breaking the cycle of adversity. In the coming year, we will place a heightened emphasis on educational initiatives and skill-building programs. By providing broadened access to quality instruction and equipping youth with practical skills, we aspire to empower them to overcome challenges and build a foundation for future success.
4. Community Engagement and Advocacy: Our work extends beyond direct service provision; it encompasses advocacy and community engagement. In the coming year, we will actively engage with individuals and local community partners to raise awareness about the unique challenges faced by foster and at-risk youth. Through advocacy efforts, we aim to create a more supportive and inclusive environment that promotes understanding and empathy, all the while, working to recruit more loving homes to care for children in their times of need.
5. Enhanced Support Systems: Recognizing the importance of a holistic approach, we will focus on strengthening our support systems. This includes bolstering health and wellness services, expanding post-secondary coaching programs, and providing comprehensive resources to address the multifaceted needs of the youth and families we serve.