Neighbors Helping Neighbors: Host Homes Articles of a Career Journal

“We’re clearly filling a role. Let’s not make this more complicated than it needs to be.” -Kim Reinhardt of Mason County Host

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Rereading this article and this article, I find myself still shaking my head. EACH year thousands of youth find themselves in dangerous family situations too unstable for them to stay at home, but not bad enough to warrant them going into foster care. Their options are limited, including sleeping with knives under the pillow, chairs pressed up against the doors for safety and to “couch surf” from relative to friend until they are out of options. Most likely, this leaves them to join the throws of young homeless adults.

This should not be the case with communities and good individuals wanting to develop host homes. These are the types of programs the state should be vetting and encouraging, but instead they bring out the red tape. Call me an idealist, but I believe it would be beneficial to all parties involved if DCFS  would embrace individuals and third party groups who are willing to help, by educating and walking them through the certification process to aid young adults in finding a safe haven. This could clearly be done by hiring more competent social workers and mental health providers to complete regular (I am talking once a week with caseloads no higher than 15, so each family can be assisted properly) home, school, and employment visits. It truly does take a village to raise a child.

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