Wisconsin foster parents witness amazing transformations with their kids. Foster youth can enter the home one way, do a 180 and leave a completely different way. Not always, but quite often. So much can happen for youth if placed in the right foster home with the right foster parents. Confidence builds. Grades go up. Friends are made. Diplomas are earned. College scholarships are given. For Chase, ALL of the above happened. In less than eight months, the life of this fantastic young man changed dramatically. Read his story in his own words.
I got placed at Rick and Dan's house in November 2021. I was coming from a rough home up north. I was nervous and worried about how they would react to me and if they were going to judge me, but they did the exact opposite of that. I walked into their house, shy and nervous. I remember sitting at the kitchen table with Dan standing by the kitchen and my social worker right next to me speaking for me. I couldn't even get myself to look at Dan, let alone talk to him.
All I knew was that I was a 17-year-old Transgender male with severe mental health issues. I was moving to a brand new town and going into a new foster home, not knowing what to expect. This was going to be my 9th foster home and hopefully my last. I didn't want to get my hopes up and be let down. I remember my social worker leaving about an hour later, leaving me sitting there by myself, scared and 5 hours away from the town I grew up. She left me with two adult men and a little boy. I had no idea what I was getting into. I entered that home prepared for them to give up on me as every other foster home had.
Dan and Rick are two of the most supportive people I have been with. They are supportive, accepting, understanding, and loving. I can't say we have perfect father-son relationships. We have arguments, and we disagree sometimes, but we talk about them and work through the issues instead of giving up on each other.
When I am having a bad day at school, I will text them in our group chat, and they make me smile or remind me that I can get through it. When I have flashbacks because of my trauma, they will sit with me and make sure I am okay and safely get out of the flashback.
They support me and my decisions with transitioning to become my true self. They help me with school and doing homework. There are times that Dan has sat with me at the kitchen table for hours, working with me to understand my math homework. He is so patient with me.
I am going to college because they had faith in me and helped me get to the point where I am graduating and going off to college in the fall. I will be staying with them while I work on getting my associate's degree at UW Baraboo. When I move down to Platteville to get my master's degree in Behavioral Health, I will live in my own apartment, but I will still come up for holidays and breaks. Even though I have only been with them for a little over eight months, they are my biggest blessings. They filled the empty space I had in my heart. I never really got the chance to have a family, and they gave me that.
Here I am, part of their family. I took their last name, and they are my dads and my little brother. I couldn't be more grateful for them.
AND what Chase did not tell everyone is that he was awarded a $16,000 college scholarship!!!
As a treatment foster care agency, we strive to place youth with a family we feel has the best opportunity for success. Growth and healing is our focus. The CCR staff could not be more proud of Rick and Dan and the love and acceptance they have shown Chase. We always say that "meeting kids where they are at" is so important when being a foster parent. These men did that and so much more!
LGBTQ+ youth enter foster care for reasons like other children and youth. Their birth families often cannot provide a safe, stable, and nurturing home. In some cases, families reject, neglect, or abuse young people when they learn that they identify as LGBTQ+.
LGBTQ+ youth are overrepresented in foster care, even though they are likely to be underreported because they risk harassment and abuse if their LGBTQ+ identity is disclosed. Studies have found that about 30 percent of youth in foster care identify as LGBTQ+ and 5 percent as transgender, compared to 10 percent and 1 percent of youth not in foster care.
Unfortunately, many LGBTQ+ youth continue to experience verbal harassment or physical violence after they are placed in a foster home due to conflicts related to their sexual orientation or gender identity. Chase was placed in EIGHT FOSTER HOMES before landing safely with Dan and Rick. Imagine the homes and the struggle to be accepted, loved, and welcomed.
If you or anyone you know is interested to become a foster parent, please contact us. We can't wait to talk with you.