Write a Happy Ending: Provider Needed for Young Adults in Extended Foster Care

hands holding hands as a sign of mutual support

A child's life is a story just beginning. You can help write a happy ending.

On any given day, hundreds of children live in foster homes in Mecklenburg County. But dozens of these children never find their "forever home" and turn 18 while in foster care. Very often, they lose the support they've had in foster care and leave without the skills they need to live independently and care for themselves. Many of the young adults enter extended foster care that provides some assistance, but they still lack stable housing to help set a stronger platform for success.

Mecklenburg County is searching for a provider to house young adults ages 18 to 21 who have aged out of foster care and teach them the skills they need to navigate a modern world.

This "Request for Proposals" is led by Mecklenburg County Community Support Services/Housing Innovation and Stabilization Services, in partnership with the Department of Social Services (DSS) Youth Family Services and First Place for Youth. DSS reports that about 65 young adults over the age of 18 are currently served in Extended Foster Care, with many lacking a safe, decent, and affordable place to live.

To help those young adults, the County will provide $1,022,020 to an organization that would ultimately create up to 30 supportive housing units for this vulnerable population.

The goal is to bring the My First Place program model to Mecklenburg County. My First Place is a nationally recognized education and employment program model that provides housing and case management to young adults (ages 18-25). With a place to call home, young adults can focus on education and employment goals, build community, and establish foundations for long-term success. Participants develop good tenancy skills, practice financial literacy skills, and maintain relationships with landlords. By individualizing plans for each youth to progress to living-wage career pathways, this program helps these young adults build the education, networks, and skills to be self-sufficient in the long term.

The deadline for prospective providers to submit their qualifications is March 17, 2023, with the County hoping to make a selection in April 2023. The goal is to begin building the program and working with these young adults by the summer. 

As these young adults work to complete high school, trade or vocational school, and develop other life skills, access to affordable housing and educational tools is a foundation for their future success.