Someone to Cheer for Blake

Most kids in foster care have siblings, yet over 70% are separated from one or more of them. We have witnessed the heartache of FYI youth who have lost contact with their brothers and sisters and the joy that they feel when they can reconnect with and refer their siblings to FYI.

FYI Youth Erika* told us she had siblings in foster care when she joined the FYI community two years ago. Although they had been separated for many years, she tried to stay in contact with and look out for them. Her brother Blake* had been adopted when he was 9 years old, and his adoptive family discouraged any contact with his siblings. Despite their limited communications, Blake often shared with Erika how poorly his new family was treating him.

Now 17 years old, Blake was a good student and an athlete at his high school, but things were not going well at home. Blake was often locked out of the house and became the scapegoat for the family’s issues. Finally, an altercation occurred that brought the police to the house. Blake was removed by the police and brought to a shelter. When he told Erika about his circumstances, she reached out to FYI for advice. Along with an FYI staff member, Erika called the DCFS hotline to advocate for Blake. After speaking to the emergency social worker, it was clear that Blake would most likely be placed back into foster care. Worried about her brother being moved far away and having to change schools, Erika asked if FYI could help find a local foster home for Blake.

Through our contacts in the community, FYI identified a local foster home and worked with the social worker to ensure placement could happen. Erika was able to go to court with FYI’s program director in order to support her brother. Blake smiled when he saw Erika walk into the courtroom; he was no longer alone. After the judge approved Blake’s foster care placement, Erika was allowed to spend time with her brother. She told him about the new foster home and that he could still attend his high school. She also shared that he could join FYI, where he would have an Ally and a community of support.

Within a few short weeks, Blake’s life completely changed. At his next football game, he had a cheering section in the stands. He lit up when he saw his Ally, his Ally’s wife, and FYI staff members. It was the first time any adults had come to watch him play, and he was overwhelmed with gratitude.

FYI showed up just in time for Blake. Despite the emotional toll of being abandoned again, Blake is thriving. He is doing well in school, likes his foster home, enjoys spending time with his sister, and has a permanent fan in the football stands, his Ally.

*Names changed to protect privacy.

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