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Teen Needed Just One Solid Connection, and Now He Has It

KANSAS: A.J.* has been in foster care for nearly a decade. With his parents out of the picture, he was raised by his aunt until the day she dropped him off at a juvenile detention center and abandoned him. He was only nine years old. 

Shortly after entering care, A.J. was on a path to his first adoption. However, right before it was finalized, the adoption failed because A.J. stole money from the parents. Instead of understanding A.J.’s trauma and behaviors, they gave up on him. After that experience, A.J. spent years bouncing between foster and potential adoptive homes. During this time, he had zero contact with his biological family, that is until his case came to Cornerstones of Care. 

When Heather, a Family Finding Manager at Cornerstones of Care, heard about A.J., she immediately asked for Connect Our Kids tools to be used and his family found on our software to be explored. Studying his case file, Heather saw that A.J.’s kinship placements failed partly because of A.J.’s escalating trauma-responsive behavior and the families’ lack of ability to handle A.J.’s growing list of needs. A.J. needed a much stronger connection. He needed to be paired with someone who could understand A.J., be patient with him, and commit to him long-term. It was challenging, though, as A.J. was prone to destructive behaviors.

Last year, using Connect Our Kids’ People Search and Family Connections, Cornerstones of Care found some half-sisters. His sister, Luenell, is now in the process of becoming A.J.’s permanent guardian. A.J. has bonded with Luenell, who understands his behavior history. She is committed to working with him and seeing that he successfully transitions out of foster care. Heather is thrilled about this outcome, especially given all the trauma A.J. has endured. 

“It gives me chills to think about it. This kid needed at least one solid connection, and now he has it! This couldn’t have been possible without utilizing Connect Our Kids.”

To directly create more outcomes like A.J.’s, please donate HERE. Connect Our Kids is a nonprofit dedicated to leveraging technology to find families, build connections, and create a community for children in the foster care system.

*Names have been changed to protect privacy.

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