COLORADO: Tommy*, a 14-year-old boy with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), spent five years in foster care and had no contact with his relatives. His Youth Connections Advocate at a local non-profit began using Connect Our Kids technology platform and identified 169 connections.
Tommy’s advocate reached out to two of those connections, his paternal grandmother and aunt, who had lost contact with him when his parents moved out of state. They were overjoyed to reconnect with him.
Tommy’s autism is nonverbal, which creates barriers to finding him a permanent home. His grandmother and aunt live out of state, which makes communicating challenging, but they are actively involved in Tommy’s life. They are working towards building a solid and permanent relationship with him.
Tommy’s advocate has begun transition planning for after his 18th birthday. She is researching implications for the new Foster Youth in Transition Program (HB21-1094) to learn specifics about extending his services to include education and housing for Tommy until his 21st birthday.
As an adult with Autism, Tommy will likely qualify for adult services to support his physical and advocacy needs in adulthood. His advocate also continues to nurture relationships within his family.
“The Family Connections tool is a revolutionary tool for Child Welfare! It has increased my productivity and pushed me to locate and contact more connections for my youth. It has made tracking my engagement so much easier and has removed the headache from our day-to-day documentation. I am so grateful for this tool!”
These connections matter. To help more children in foster care like Tommy, please consider donating HERE.
*Names have been changed to protect privacy.