A blog about Camp Joy’s Fostering Success program written by The Redwoods Group on their Safety & Society @ Camp blog.
Young people in foster care are far more likely to endure homelessness, poverty, compromised health, unemployment and incarceration after they leave the foster care system. With 400,000 children in the foster care system nationwide, this is a significant societal problem.
This data compelled Camp Joy, based near Cincinnati, OH, to action. Camp Joy has served children from disadvantaged backgrounds since 1938 through hands on outdoor programs, so it is no surprise they aimed their minds at helping children in the foster care system.
The new program, Fostering Success, is the result of a partnership between Camp Joy, the Children’s Home of Cincinnati and local foster care agencies. Its goal – to empower foster youth through education and support while increasing their developmental assets, with expectations that they will learn, grow and succeed throughout their lives.
Camp Joy and its collaborators understand that consistency is crucial in empowering foster children, and have created a year-round program. Fostering Success includes 10 different experiences, including a week at camp during the summer and nine weekend respites (one/month during non-summer months).
The collaborators also understand that each brings an important role to Fostering Success – Camp Joy provides the camp staff, facilities, meals and its outdoor leadership curriculum; the Children’s Home of Cincinnati created and teaches the curriculum of therapeutic and life skills needed to transition children successfully out of the foster care system; and the six local foster care agencies have the relationships with local children and families in the foster system to aid in identifying and enrolling children in the program. While these groups have a really strong partnership, this work would not be possible without the financial capital of a generous group of donors.
They’re currently piloting the model, and intend to refine it and share it in hopes it can be replicated across Ohio, and eventually the rest of the country. The first year of the program will be completed next month with 35 children graduating from the program. The second year of the program will kickoff with 50 participants, and they are actively looking for additional communities to implement this model.