Friends collaborate with both their youth and the parent(s), making decisions together and supporting each other.
Lily* is 6 years old and has already experienced foster care. Her mother, Alexandra, recently aged out of foster care at 21. Alexandra* immediately recognized the value of having a Friend in her and Lily’s life. Lily was more reluctant. She couldn’t at first tell the difference between her new Friend, Denise*, and previous adults who’d taken her from her mother. Lily refused to leave the house with Denise and cried and screamed if Denise came to pick her up from school. So Denise started small, visiting Lily in the comfort of her home with Alexandra nearby. They talked about the importance of keeping her mother close. Soon, Lily was willing to walk around the block with Denise. They began going to the park down the street. Lily soon recognized that her mom was putting her faith in Denise, and the three became a team. Alexandra and Denise began to lay out the steps they’ll take together to build a brighter future for Lily.
*Names have been changed to protect identities.