Choosing her Own Path - Wraparound Foster Care

At 17 years old, Alice had been in the foster care system for most of her life. Alice was a strong and independent young girl who struggled greatly with authority figures. Due to her incessant running away and defiant behaviors, Alice had spent a lot of time in group homes. When Alice turned 17, she was adamant about trying to live like a normal teenager. Alice’s Social Worker, knowing that Alice would require a lot of support in meeting this desire, suggested that Alice try the Family Care Network’s Wraparound Foster Care (WFC) program in order for her to receive individualized support in a family setting. At first, Alice was skeptical, having tried other programs that hadn’t worked for her personality. It was explained to Alice that WFC staff would work to meet her specific goals and that she would be a participating member of her team. Soon Alice’s skepticism was turned to hope as she grew excited over the idea of living with a family while having the chance to enjoy normal teenage experiences.

As promised, Alice and her WFC team developed a list of goals that Alice wanted to accomplish, including trying out for her school’s softball team, improving her grades and establishing better relationships. Alice’s most important goal, however, was to live as a “normal teenager” without a lot of support from In-Home Support Counselors (IHC) and other WFC staff persons. While WFC is structured to provide youth with a lot of one-on-one support, Alice’s WFC team consented to reduce her support staff time if Alice could work towards her goals without behavior issues. In a sense, if Alice could act trustworthy, then program staff would trust her. Alice’s WFC team wanted to empower Alice by listening to her, and creating an individualized plan to help Alice achieve these goals according to her voiced wants and needs.

During her time in WFC, Alice achieved many of her goals, including her most important one: to live as a normal teenager. Alice’s placement in WFC afforded her the chance to enjoy school activities, make new friends, grow close with her foster family, establish positive relationships, and begin planning for a future she never knew she could have. Because of WFC and the individualized support she received, Alice learned that she is capable of earning and retaining trust—with others and with herself. Alice is now in the position to work towards many of her future goals—including entering the Transitional Housing program and enrolling in college—with a lot of self-confidence and increased self-worth.