Every year, more than 250,000 children are placed into the foster-care system. Even more heartbreaking than this National Foster Youth Institute statistic is this one: More than 23,000 of those children will age out of the system with nowhere to go. About 20 percent of them will become instantly homeless after they leave foster care.
Kidsave is a nonprofit organization dedicated to curbing this cycle. Its mission is to help older foster youth find permanent homes by creating fun ways to match them with families. Kidsave recently hosted its “Weekend Miracles” event at Paramount Studios, giving interested families and older foster youth an opportunity to engage and connect through interactive activities. Filmmaker Sean Anders, who wrote and directed the film ”Instant Family,” kicked off the event.
Anders’ film, which was released last November, was inspired by his real-life experience adopting three older children out of foster care. The film features Mark Wahlberg, Octavia Spencer and Rose Byrne.
Becoming an adoptive parent “was such a roller coaster of emotions,” Anders says. “One moment something funny would happen in our house and the next moment something heartbreaking, so I wanted to capture those high ups and downs. My kids are here, and they are the best thing to ever happen to me.”
According to Kidsave, 75 percent of the kids they work with are adopted or remain connected to an adult they met through Kidsave. One of those kids is Celia Healy, who was adopted out of foster care after meeting her parents, Andy and Trish Healy, at a Kidsave event 2½ years ago.
“I have two people I can lean on whenever I have an issue, and they support me through everything,” Healy says.
No matter how old they are, says Kidsave CEO Randi Thompson, “kids still need permanency. Many people don’t think that teenagers need families; they think they need services. What we’re trying to do is get them into a family before they have to make that long road into adulthood on their own. No matter what age you are, you still need [family]. I still need my mother.”
To learn more about Kidsave, visit kidsave.org. “Instant Family” is now available on Blu-ray, DVD and digital services.