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Tell us: #whatmakesfamily?

We’re serious. Tell us on social media using #whatmakesfamily.

Earlier this year, 12 young people got together with our YGB team and an incredible film crew. Over a weekend, they shared their powerful stories of life in care. And throughout that weekend, they opened their hearts to us about their ideas about family. While many people–from the general public as well as from within the child welfare field–may have given up on the idea of family for our oldest youth,  these kids have not given up hope. As you can see from Ramone’s story, their thoughts on family are profound and powerful.  We are so grateful to Ramone and all of the young people who shared their stories with us. We must hear them. Ramone’s video is the first, with more to come. Now it is our job to ACT.  To help us all move forward in our understanding of the issues,  You Gotta Believe is launching a new campaign called #WhatMakesFamily. The focus of this campaign is to truly discover and share the myriad reasons that make family FAMILY. We want to hear your views! By examining “What Makes Family”, we want to continue the  national conversation on how the concept of family is changing and ensure that older youth in foster care are included in our notions of family. For example, at YGB, we work to find permanent, unconditionally committed families for young people who often are forgotten in conversations about adoption. These youth include pregnant teens or teenage mothers with babies, sibling groups, older teens, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender teens. When these and other youth in the foster care system come together with their new families, they challenge traditional ideas of #whatmakesfamily.

So, what makes family to us?

Any and all kinds of people who will make an unconditional lifetime commitment to a youth in foster care and will welcome them into their homes, families, hearts, and lives! In our experience, this includes:
  • Families of all races, ethnicities, nationalities
  • Families of all orientations – straight and gay and lesbian couples, straight or gay single women and men, and transgender individuals.
  • People of varying ages and those with physical challenges who want to make a real difference in the life of a youth or youths in care
  • People who have parented children – and those who have never parented
  • People who are related to youth in care but were never included in their planning and want to step up to welcome them home now
  • People who have an existing connection to a youth in care and realize they can be the one to make that lifetime commitment—including staff, teachers, employers, mentors, coaches, current and former foster parents, family friends, etc.
  • And YOU! Yes, you, the parent who hasn’t yet met your child. You too can make a family with one of our youth who does not have a permanent person in their life.
Follow us on Twitter or like our Facebook page to contribute to the conversation. As we begin this conversation, #whatmakesfamily has a special focus this month on LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning) youth as well as parents who identify as LGBT. Find out more about this focus on our YGB PRIDE page. And don’t forget to tell us #whatmakesfamily!

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