The Whitefish Community Foundation Kids Fund Grant Program has awarded the CASA for Kids FOCUS Program $50,000 for the second year, bringing the total invested to date to $100,000. Launched in 2020, FOCUS is a Youth Case Management Program providing multiple layers of support to children ages 14-23 as they age out of foster care.
Older foster youth are among the most vulnerable populations in the Flathead. Many become homeless the day they age out of foster care, and 20%-30% will become homeless before age 26. During the first year of the program, CASA for Kids developed a database specific to FOCUS to track an ongoing needs assessment for each child, as well as school data, interactions with CASA Advocates and staff, and involvement in a peer-to-peer case management program. A Youth Case Manager is the hub of the program, tying a team together to expand service exponentially, moving the youth forward toward successful transition into adulthood. Despite challenges due to COVID, FOCUS served 40 youth in 2020, and will continue to expand in 2021.
The Kids Fund – Giving Voice to Children was established as an initiative to address child homelessness in the Flathead Valley. The goal of the Kids Fund is to support small, and large-scale programs in the areas of health, safety, and education, that mitigate challenges and prevent local youth from becoming homeless. FOCUS is a great example of how our nonprofit community continues to deliver crucial services to Flathead Valley residents, and the Community Foundation welcomed the opportunity to invest $100,000 to date in CASA for Kids to build this program.
The Whitefish Community Foundation is dedicated to fostering philanthropy, building endowments and helping donors and nonprofits benefit our communities. For more information about the Community Foundation, visit www.whitefishcommunityfoundation.org or call 406-863-1781.