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Advocating for Foster Youth

Martine Jones, a former client in our Transitional Independent Living Program, has published her first article!


As a former foster youth, Martine speaks from experience in her article titled, “National Foster Care Awareness Month: Tied to Change.” The article highlights some of the challenges current and former foster youth routinely face and the importance of prioritizing their mental health. In her article Martine notes the importance of transitional housing programs to assist youth aging out of foster care.

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According to Martine, “The transition to adulthood is heavy, with the youth in foster care potentially experiencing multiple different foster homes before turning 18. These disruptions reflect missed opportunities to maintain healthy relationships and lessen the feelings of abandonment and distrust. These missed opportunities contribute to youth entering adulthood and exiting programs without guidance or a support system to successfully transition. Lack of support often leaves foster youth more vulnerable to homelessness.”

Martine is grateful for the stability and support she found in Sycamores’ Transitional Independent Living Program and credits her Sycamores team with making it easier for her to adjust to living independently. When we first shared Martine’s story three years ago, she had graduated from Pasadena City College and had just been accepted to Cal Poly Pomona to complete her bachelor’s degree. Today we are proud to share that Martine is a senior at Cal Poly Pomona, majoring in Gender, Ethnicity and Multicultural studies, with a minor in African American studies. For her senior capstone project, she is doing research on how Black girls are impacted by the structural and embodied cycles of oppression in the foster care system. Utilizing her lived expertise as a former foster youth, Martine is currently serving as a Foster Youth Voice Representative for the Los Angeles Unified area and South Bay districts.  Martine is paying it forward and making a difference. We look forward to many more successes from this impressive young woman. We invite you to read Martine’s article here: “National Foster Care Awareness Month: Tied to Change.”