Judy Tudor, former foster child
Louis Beltran, co-founder, Foster Care Alumni Nevada Chapter
Madison Sandoval-Lunn, co-founder, Foster Care Alumni Nevada Chapter
BY IAN MYLCHREEST -- Kids who grow up in classic, nuclear family homes can take the amenities they enjoy as young adults for granted – getting free advice on purchasing a car or picking a college, for example. But what about foster kids who have aged out of the system? On whose couch can they crash in a crisis?
To fill that void, some foster care graduates have created the Foster Care Alumni Organization.
The alumni organization will be able to offer support, advice and a place to celebrate the holidays to 18- to 24-year-olds as they age out of the foster care system, says Luis Beltran, one of the founders of the Nevada chapter. “That’s why this group is so important – to really bring a sense of community to the foster youth here in Nevada,” he adds.
Many times foster families fall short on love and affection, says Foster Care Alumni organizer, Madison Sandoval-Lunn. Beltran had been moved out of his family’s home at age 10 because of his parents abusive behavior. He sought to be “normal” and found it for some time with his foster family – he was placed with a military family where everything worked well until the family was assigned to Japan, ending his chance for the family to adopt him.
Sandoval-Lunn was also placed in foster care. Her mother moved around to avoid domestic violence and the three children were placed into separate homes. Sandoval-Lunn was not finally adopted until she was 17 years of age – a very unusual occurrence, and one that gave her a sense of finality, even as it upset her birth mother. It did provide Sandoval-Lunn with opportunities such as college that would not have come her way. The organizers of the Foster Care Alumni group hope that it will offer that kind of support to foster care children.