Connect Our Kids Launches Healing Video Series for Youth in Foster Care

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Connect Our Kids launches the Connections Matter Academy, a trauma-informed video series designed for youth who are or have been in foster care.

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Children in foster care experience post-traumatic stress disorder at two times the rate of returning war veterans. We know that belonging, connection, and consistency help to heal trauma so we’re working to accelerate that recovery.

Connect Our Kids, a non-profit organization pioneering technology to find families and create community for America’s most vulnerable children and young adults, launches the Connections Matter Academy, a trauma-informed video series designed for youth who are or have been in foster care.

The video series was developed by four trauma therapists and 30 child welfare professionals with lived experience, in conjunction with Octopie, a cutting-edge animation studio. Each video focuses on different aspects of recovery from childhood trauma while teaching the skills needed to build a healthy, supportive network when moving into adulthood. As America’s only family search and engagement platform, Connect Our Kids provides free resources and tools for social workers, child advocates, and CASA volunteers to help children in foster care.

“Children in foster care experience post-traumatic stress disorder at two times the rate of returning war veterans. This is devastating, for the children, their families and our society at large. We know that belonging, connection, and consistency help to heal trauma so we’re working to accelerate that recovery,” explained Jessica Stern, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer at Connect Our Kids.

“The Connections Matter Academy video series meets viewers where they are and invites them to begin the healing process. This includes preparing youth in foster care to learn how to ask for help and get the support they need from a safe, caring network,” Stern adds.

There are over 400,000 children in foster care, and more than 20,000 age out of the system every year without ever finding permanent, supportive families. By age 26, two-thirds of those aging out will have been homeless, incarcerated, or will be dead.

The Connections Matter Academy is the latest tool developed by Connect Our Kids to aid child welfare professionals in finding the permanent family and community support that is essential for children. The videos help teens and young adults prepare to use the Family Connections tool, alongside their trusted child welfare professional, to build out and engage a network of extended family members and other natural supports, like neighbors, coaches, or community members.

“Our family search and engagement software was inspired by software used by the U.S. military and intelligence communities to track terrorists, but instead benefiting vulnerable children and young adults,” said Dr. Jennifer Jacobs, a national security expert turned Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Connect Our Kids. “We work across multiple sectors to keep children and young adults safe; public and private child welfare organizations, non-profit foster care and residential treatment centers, group homes, and homeless shelters serving youth who have aged out of the foster care system.”

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Connect Our Kids
Founded in 2020, Connect Our Kids is a non-profit organization that applies modern technology to family search and engagement practices. The organization develops free software tools, including People Search and Family Connections, to assist child welfare professionals working with children in or at risk of foster care.

Connect Our Kids works with direct service partners, funding partners, strategic and advocacy partners, and some of the largest technology companies in the world. The Connect Our Kids platform is in use in 44 states and fills a much-needed gap in the child-welfare system, accelerating the support and caring relationships that change lives and help children recover from traumatic experiences. Follow Connect Our Kids at @ConnectOurKids, on LinkedIn or at https://connectourkids.org/.

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Jessica Stern