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2014

BRINGING ATTENTION TO THE


AGING OUT PROCESS OF YOUNG
ADULTS IN FOSTER CARE

BUS 2200 ServiceLearning Project


Submitted by:
Fatima Beganovic, Richard Knight,
Joe Rael

Submitted to:
Professor Melodee Lambert

Bringing Attention to the aging out


process of young adults in Foster care December 3, 2014

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Our service learning project report contains information about Aging out of Foster. Aging out of foster
is the process in which youths turn 18 years of age and are no long covered through foster care placement
and group homes. Once they turn 18 years of age they no longer remain in state custody and are forced to
live independently .Our goal is to provide more information available to youths and foster families about
the aging out process and how they can prepare for it. Many people are not aware how many youth age
out each year. This year in Utah alone, more than 300 youth will age out.
For this project we took all of our information from online research and interviews we conducted to
compile a booklet. Our goal is to have these booklets placed at as many foster care state facilities in Salt
Lake City and eventually statewide. We interviewed a Division of Child and Family Services
representatives, Utah Foster Care foundation, Volunteers of America (Homeless Youth Resource Center),
Housing Authority of Salt Lake City, Aging out youth, and Foster Family. Our group designed a survey
that was posted on Facebook. We e-mailed and distributed our survey around Salt Lake Community
College for students to take that would show us how many people are aware of Aging out of Foster.
The purpose of our project was to make as many as possible people aware of aging out of foster youth and
help them as much as possible before this process happens so that they have a better success rate when
they age out. We all learned so much about ourselves and our topic. We learned how to:

Conduct interview.
Create different types of business documents.
Use online resources to compile information.
Organization that help aging out of foster youth
Aging out of foster youth not being informed very well

We learned about topics that were not part of our main topic such as:

Team building.
Problem solving as a team.
Depending on team members to do their part.
Building relationships with team members that will continue after college.

Bringing Attention to the aging out


process of young adults in Foster care December 3, 2014
INTRODUCTION/OVERVIEW
Goal and Objectives
Our service learning project goals and objectives are to increase awareness on aging out of foster
care teens, and teach foster parents and aging out of foster care teens resources that can help an
aging out adult for adult hood. Our project consists of interviewing managers at Divisions of
Child and Family Services (DCFS), Volunteers of America (Homeless Youth Resource Center),
and Housing Authority of Salt Lake City.
Our needs as Business Students
As business students we needed to practice and develop our skills such as:

Conduct interviews and obtaining information


Work as a group and team
Use written and oral communication skills
Put together credible documents

Our project allowed us to practice all of these skills and had to approach business professionals
to get interviews as walk ins and no phone calls to set up our interviews. It was conductive to our
learning and progression as future business professions to encounter issues and provide a
solution for those issues in a timely manner.
RATIONALE
Foster children affect everyone in some way. Many people in our community have either had an
encounter with someone in foster care, or know someone such as a family member, friend or
colleague that has been affected by the foster care system.
Aging out of foster care affects our community in a negative way if they are not provided the
tools to become a productive member in society. Raising awareness on programs and resources
that can help them get on their feet to be successful in their life before its too late.
Successful programs can change the mindset and motivation of aging out of foster care adults to
want to become a productive member of society to become a better person than they have been
shown throughout their lives.
With this in mind, we decided to create a booklet to provide information based upon our
interviews, survey results and online research on the aging out of foster care process for youths.
The booklet provides information to raise awareness on programs about the aging out of foster
care process for youths. It will be created to catch the attention to our project and promote
awareness of the importance of the aging out of foster care process for youths.

Bringing Attention to the aging out


process of young adults in Foster care December 3, 2014

PROCESS, MATERIALS AND METHOD


We decided within the first week what each persons task would be for this project. We did so by
viewing what everyones strengths were and assigning them the tasks in which their strengths
would be utilized to its full potential.
Fatima Beganovic was assigned the task of gathering information through interviews conducted
in person and over the phone. Fatimas passion for this topic made her a huge asset in the
interview and information gathering process. She knew what her goal was and what questions to
ask prior to our first draft of our interview questions and survey. Fatima contributed to her
portion of the drafted final report which was equally divided among the team members.
Richard Knight was tasked with creating the initial memo. He also is processing the data of the
interviews and the survey posted online. He took on the task of drafting the layout of the final
report as well as proof reading the final report.
Joe Rael provided his service as a secondary interview to ensure Fatima hadnt missed any
questions and also asked questions of his own. He completed his part of the final drafted report
as well is finished the booklet in which our information is being delivered to our target audience.
During the beginning of our research phase we all felt a little lost in the direction we wanted to to
this project but after a long brainstorming meeting we found our way and proceeded with
effectiveness and determination.

RESULTS, DISCUSSION AND REFLECTION


Results
Fatimas passion for this subject was the fuel we needed to make this a successful project. With
her insight and passion our interview questions were very precise and on target to get the
information we needed in order to provide our target audience with effective tools to help them
through the process.
Richard proceeded with the survey and asked for input with the questions the group wanted on
the survey. In the end result which was the participation of over 200 people in our survey we felt
we could easily identify what percentage of people knew about foster care and its aging out
process. We chose only three simple questions and through the results we were given a clear
picture of how many people actually know about the aging out process and the effect it has on
us.
Joes willingness to help and participate was great. He was able to complete his portion along
with helping out Fatima and Richard with their portions as well. Hes input on the survey
questions turned our survey from a In-depth data analysts nightmare to a simple easy to read
data producing survey.

Bringing Attention to the aging out


process of young adults in Foster care December 3, 2014

Discussion
Even with everyones schedules being in disarray with one anothers we were able to meet on
three different occasions with everyone in the group. Other meetings were held with Fatima and
Joe as well as with Fatima and Richard. Each time a meeting was held with one member missing
the team ensured that the missing member was informed about the discussion through voice
recordings of the sessions as well as emailed documentation.
The entire project team was able to create the survey questions as well as the interview question
to ensure that any questions we felt needed to be answered were. We made certain that our
questions were easily understood and required explanation only to a certain level. We felt as a
group if we went too far in depth in our survey questions we may lose the attention of our
participants.
Fatima and Joe participated in the face to face interviews and made certain that all interviews
were recorded to make it easier for Richard to analyze the data from the interview. During the
interview process Richard kept up with the survey and continued to reach out to people around
school as well as in his personal life for participants in our survey.
Reflection
During the initial voting phase of which projects would make the final cut to be able to create a
team Richard had stepped down from his project which at the time held top votes in order to
learn something new. His passion to help people has been a great asset to the team. Fatima gladly
welcomed him as he was tremendously grateful to be a part of a team with Fatima how showed
her passion through her presentation. Joe was a wild card. At first we were unsure of his ability
to participate as a team member but to the surprise of Fatima and Rick Joe has been a
irreplaceable shining star on the team.
During our data gathering phase we seemed to have lost track of our goal. This project had been
just another project in which needed to be done in order to pass this class and move on to the
next. We have Melodee to thank for getting us back on track. She met with Fatima and their
discussion fueled Fatima into overdrive. Joe and Rick received in detail what needed to be done
and in what direction we were head. With Fatima at the wheel of this project steered us to
success.
Throughout this project we feared that no foster care facility would allow us to present our
booklet and hopefully give us a space on the shelf for our booklet. But after a long discussion
with Richard and Fatima we have realized that if no facility if willing to do this then it us not us
who have failed but the facility themselves. We will push to the highest member of the company
if need be to ensure our information becomes easily available to foster children and parents.

Bringing Attention to the aging out


process of young adults in Foster care December 3, 2014

RECOMMANDATION
For the SLCC Students
We would like the students of Salt Lake Community College to spread the word about the aging out of
foster care process for youths, get involved and help in any way possible. The information we will
provide is very informative and helpful for all students who would like to learn more about aging out of
foster care process for youths.
For Future BUS 2200 Students
The project requires a lot work of in the class and out of class work. We assigned tasks based on our
group members strengths and ended up with more information than we had forecasted for this project.
During the research and final stages of this project we had run into some difficulties, but with the support
of our team members and our professor Melodee Lambert we were able to find a solution. One of the
issues was lack of interest from foster care facilities to hold an over the phone interview and even getting
call backs from them proved to be a loss cause. In order to overcome this issue we took it upon ourselves
to make face to face contact in order to show our seriousness of this project. It is always a good idea to
plan ahead for any dilemmas you may stumble upon. Also pick a topic you care about, something that
you are passionate about learning.
For Professor Melodee Lambert
When we look back on the beginning of the semester and the work we did, it seemed to be a lot. The
number of handouts we received was overwhelming but as we finish this project we realize that Melodee
Lambert had given us all the tools to make our final group project easier and successful. All necessary
tools helped tremendously including the instructions we received from Melodee. Although at times
Melodee seemed to be strict about layout and content it is clear now that she was only preparing us for
our final project and helping prepare us as future business professionals. It helped us to pay attention to
all details that are part of the daily life of business professionals and as business student it has been a very
helpful in the preparation for our future.

Bringing Attention to the aging out


process of young adults in Foster care December 3, 2014

APPENDIX I
Interview with Foster Parent Carmen Munoz
The interview of foster parent Carmen Munoz occurred at her house in Salt Lake City. Carmen has been
married for 35 years and does not have kids. She is living with her husband Antonio and three kids that
she theyre fostering now and in process of adopting all of them. The interview details why Carmen
chose to become a foster parent. Also outlines the support and training that she has gone through.
Carmen has been a foster parent for a little more than 20 years. She did foster on two different
occasions each time had three kids age from 5 to 16. Once the kids aged out they choose to go and live
on their own. Carmen is fostering now another three kids age 4, 8 and 16 years old. These kids are
siblings and they ended up in foster because their parents were deported back to Mexico almost 4 years
ago. At this time the youngest was only 6 month old.
Fatima: why did you choose to become foster parent?
Carmen: I dont have kids of my own and I always wanted to have kids, thats why I choose to become
foster parent.
Fatima: how long have you been a foster parent?
Carmen: I have been foster parent for little over 20 years.
Fatima: Could you tell me what was the process you had to go through to become foster parent?
Carmen: Becoming a foster parent is a long process. The first step is to call the state Division of Social
Services and request an information packet on becoming a foster parent. This information packet has
fundamental information on what is expected of foster parents and also includes specific instructions on
how to proceed through the licensing process. Also orientation session is available and need to be
attended by the local foster care agency. After that if you interested in becoming a foster parent you
need to fill out a foster parenting application. If the foster care agency think you meet basic criteria the
foster care agency social workers will begin a home study. The home study includes visits to your actual
home, for various safety inspections, also extensive back ground checks into you and your family. The
criminal record check is also included. This process can take several months and required a lot work
from me and my family, but it was very important in protecting foster children in the system. During the
home study you get enrolled in a foster care training course taught by the local foster care agency. If the
home study goes well and you successfully complete the training program, you will become a certified
foster parent. After that the agency will try to find a child that is a good match for your home, and they
will come to live with you. The children get covered under Medicaid and the foster care agency provides
a monthly check to help cover the childs room and board.

Fatima: Tell me please a little bit more about training and how helpful was it to become a better foster
parent?

Bringing Attention to the aging out


process of young adults in Foster care December 3, 2014
Carmen: Yes, all training starting from basic kids needs and then going to the special psychological
needs. From my previous foster parenting I have had some kids that came from abusive families and it is
very difficult to work with them. You have to have so much patience all the time because they go
through what looks to me as some kind of cycle where they are doing just fine and then suddenly start
to feel depressed, upset. These emotional periods are very hard on kids and on myself because when
they run into this phase they start behaving so badly. I remember John I called him my boy very sweet
and kind kid, but when he went into what I called a bad day he would accuse me and blame on me for
his situation. John is from abusive family where his both parent were using drugs. He did not trust
anybody and it was hard to earn his trust. Also what I saw in John he was worried what will happen to
him when he ages out at 18 years old. I kept telling him you can stay with me as long as you want, you
dont have to leave, this is your home. It seemed to help him a lot but he made decision and moved out
when he finished high school. He was able to find job and with some support he has an apartment that
he shares with another kid he went to high school with. John is like I mentioned working and going to
college now. He comes and visits from time to time and we talk on the phone very often. Im so happy
for him because I care for him and I love him as he is my own kid.
Fatima: Can you please tell me a little bit more about back ground check that you have to go through.
Carmen: you know to become foster parent you have to have clean background, because you have to
care for kids on a daily base, like your own. It is not easy I sometimes think it is harder to be foster
parents than biological, but since I dont have my own kids is hard to tell. But I do what I do because I
love kids.
Fatima: Now you have three kids that you are fostering and working on adoptions why you want to
adapt them?
Carmen: These kids ended up in foster care under different circumstances. They have good parents but
they parents are illegal here and were deported back to Mexico. They left kids hoping that they will have
better life here than in Mexico even without them. Can you just imagine having to leave your kids after
you and not knowing if you will be able to see them ever? This is heart breaking. It is so sad to see this
kind of circumstances where the family is destroyed. Yes I said destroyed because ever since they
deported they lasted contact with kids. I think this could be avoided if the government would just
amnesty these families. They are hardworking, not criminals and doing the best to make sure their kids
have better future. In Mexico it is a lot problem and it is very dangers so many people get killed. You
know all this drugs cartels and so on. Im trying to find out where these kids parents are now. So far no
success, and oldest kid who is 16 keep telling me once when I get 18 years old I will go back to Mexico to
find my parent. I support him these are his biological parent. I can see that these kids are also
psychologically affected. We have more than 5000 thousand kids ending up in foster care because their
parents were deported. It is so sad that this life of kids are being damaged and in many cases destroyed.
You know it is hardest part with kids to deal with their emotions. They dont understand why somebody
would separate them from parents and they parents are just working so hard and are non criminals
paying all taxes and so on.
Fatima: On the end of our conversation tell do you feel happy being foster parent and would you do any
different if you could?

Bringing Attention to the aging out


process of young adults in Foster care December 3, 2014
Carmen: Im very happy being foster parent, it is not easy but I would not change it. I just wish I can help
more kids.

Conclusion
It was very interesting, sad and on the same time encouraging interview with Carmen. I hope she will be
able to adapt these kids and they will be able to find their biological parents. Foster care parenting is
requiring commitment patient and knowledge, to be able to take good care of kids and give those all
support so they can age out as a stable young adult.

Bringing Attention to the aging out


process of young adults in Foster care December 3, 2014
APPENDIX II
Questions from our survey with 210 Responses
How much would you say you know about Foster Care?

Answer Choices

A lot.

A Little.

None.
Total

Responses
28.57%
61
52.38%
106
19.05%
43
210

How much do you know about the Aging Out Process of Foster Care?

Answer Choices

A lot

A Little

None
Total

Responses
23.81%
47
47.62%
106
28.57%
57
210

Would you like more information on the Aging Out process of foster care?

Answer Choices

Responses
47.62%
Yes (Insert email below for more information when this project is complete) 100
52.38%
No
110
Total
210

Bringing Attention to the aging out


process of young adults in Foster care December 3, 2014

Data Analysis
The goal of our survey was to find out how knowledgeable our participants were on foster care and its
aging out process for young adults. There is a 10% drop in the amount of people that are somewhat
knowledgeable of foster care and those knowledgeable about the aging out process. These numbers show
that a average of around 50% of people know very little about both questions asked. From this survey we
discovered that our target audience was much longer then we had originally anticipated.

Bringing Attention to the aging out


process of young adults in Foster care December 3, 2014
APPENDIX III
The Booklet