Forever Families: Yes Mentoring
Each week CBS Austin features a Central Texas child waiting to be adopted. But what happens when the child ages out of the foster care system and doesn't find a forever family?
There's a mentoring program that works to set up foster kids for success and provide the support they need as they transition to adulthood.
"She's a great mom and a very hard worker," said Clare Ivey of her mentee Ria.
Ria Woods and Clare have a bond that will last a lifetime.
"She's someone I can go to at any time of the night with any questions. She can always answer," said Ria.
At 15, Ria's adoptive mother gave her back to the system.
"When I was younger I didn't have a person to talk to," said Ria.
In Texas, a foster child can remain in voluntary foster care until the age of 21 if they are working 20 hours a week, are in school or both. Erin Argue coordinates the YES Mentoring program through the non-profit organization Partnerships for Children.
"The kiddos are still turning 18 without a forever family. So they're trying to figure out how to be an adult and still grieving the process of becoming an adult and not having that forever family to fall back on," said Argue.
Four years ago, YES Mentoring matched Clare and Ria together and put them through a program to help Ria learn to lean on those she can trust and also succeed on her own.
"They're really trying to figure out where they fit in. It's a lot of challenges. We want to make sure they've got somebody," said Argue.
Since it began about 5 and a half years ago, the YES Mentoring program has served over 200 young adults and currently has 75 active participants. Ria is now 25-years-old and wants to become a teacher.
"Just to be that helping hand. Just to be that person that Clare is to me," said Ria.
You can find out more about the YES Mentoring Program by visiting their website. "Forever Families" airs every Wednesday at 6:30 pm on CBS Austin News.