FLORIDA: Sixteen-year-old Omar* loves pizza. He also loves school, playing video games, and being artistic. When he was in elementary school, Omar’s mother passed away. He couldn’t live with his father because he was in jail. Omar then went on to live with his grandparents and did not experience foster care as a result.
After caring for Omar for five years, his grandparents got to a painful point where they felt they could no longer care for him. Their health began to decline and they found him too unruly and difficult to manage. With a heavy heart, Omar’s grandparents decided he had to leave. But Omar had nowhere else to go. He had no family he knew of and no ties to his father.
When Tonya, a Children’s Home Network Family Finding Specialist, received a request to find Omar a new home, she completed an Accurint search. She used the Connect Our Kids technology platform to look for alternative placement and support options. After using the Connect Our Kids platform, she found Omar’s relatives on the paternal side of his family. The search engines in the platform that assisted with this case were Accurint, Facebook, True People Search, Arrest.org, and Find-a-Grave.
Within a few weeks, Tonya reached out and spoke with Omar’s father’s aunt, grandmother, great-aunt, and cousin. Omar’s aunt and grandmother couldn’t provide a home for Omar but wanted to be part of Omar’s life and support him. Omar’s great-aunt and cousin are also interested in caring for him. Tonya also spoke with the mother of Omar’s step-uncle on his father’s side, who helped her build out Omar’s family tree.
Thanks to the diligence and hard work of Tonya, Children’s Home Network, and with the aid of Connect Our Kids tools, Omar has a whole set of biological family members he is getting to know for the first time in his life who are willing to care for him.
Connect Our Kids is a non-profit dedicated to leveraging technology to find families, build connections, and create a community for children in the foster care system. Want to help more children like Omar? You can today by donating HERE.
*Name has been changed to protect privacy.