For 20 years, Just in Time for Foster Youth (JIT) has created a reliable, responsive and real Community for young people, ages 18-26, as they transition from the foster care system into adulthood. The majority of JIT staff have lived experience in foster care and hundreds of volunteers help connect over 2,000 youth to the critical resources and lasting relationships needed to become Confident, Capable and Connected, breaking the cycle of foster care.
After all the resources and effort dedicated to improving child welfare systems, with little significant change in positive outcomes, we invite exploration of an alternative. A different approach to resources for children and families struggling to thrive that might ultimately replace what isn't working today.
We wrote this book because we've continued to see a stubborn truth over the last two decades about the critical necessity of Community and Connection. A truth reinforced by history and our own experience about why systems will resist change and are unlikely to be empowering, healthy places for young people or families, despite our best intentions.
This book is not a lecture but a challenge for all of us to consider a different point of view. A mindset and model that has empowered our efforts at Just in Time and might do the same for people in any community who are frustrated by the persistent trauma that seems built into the current experience of our children in care.
And we believe that all the young people impacted by foster care are our children.
We wrote this book so you can hear their voices, as we have. So that you can get to know their stories as we have.
Once you do, we hope you seek out their stories in your community and ask others to join and listen.
Most of all, we want this book to start your own crucial conversations about the old Assumptions and the Choices we can change, replacing historically negative outcomes with lasting positive Empowerment.