October 15, 2021
Kai Cotton, youth navigator at A Place 4 Me, spoke to WAMU's "1A" about her experience working with young people who have aged out of the foster care system and the many barriers to their growth and well-being.
The segment, titled "Navigating Foster Care During the Pandemic," aired nationwide through NPR on October 14, 2021. You can listen on 1A's website here.
In the segment, Kai speaks about the foster care system and its need for change. "Right now, the main goal of the system is for children to be reunited with their parents, but for a lot of us that never happens. When you have an entire system designed to be your parent, it should be set up to have the best outcomes it could possibly have, and unfortunately, that just isn't the case right now."
Kai adds, "I'm a strong believer that if you age out of foster care in a certain county or state, you shouldnt go onward to struggle in that same state."
Kai and her colleagues at A Place 4 Me are partners in the work to open and operate a youth drop-in center
for young people in Cuyahoga County who are seeking housing stability.
Every day, 1A convenes a conversation about the most important issues of our time. The show takes a deep and unflinching look at America, bringing context and insight to stories unfolding across the country and the world.
About A Place 4 Me:
A Place 4 Me is an initiative that coordinates the planning and implementation of local efforts to improve outcomes for transition-age youth in the areas of:
- Preventing homelessness, including for youth aging out of foster care.
- Creating a safety net to quickly identify youth at risk of or experiencing homelessness and connect them to resources.
- Providing an array of stable housing options for young people by leveraging federal, state, and local resources.
- Coordinating supportive services to help young people maintain stable housing, including employment assistance, mentoring, financial capability, and a flexible pool of emergency assistance resources.
We achieve these goals through convening, system assessment, planning, using data to drive decision-making, and by partnering with young adults to lead our efforts. We work to promote racial equity in the youth homeless system.
We are organized to do this work through a collective impact model of 30 partner organizations hosted by YWCA Greater Cleveland. The leadership consists of Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services, Cuyahoga County Office of Homeless Services, Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland, FrontLine Service, EDEN, Inc., and Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry.