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Michigan’s Foster Teens Gather for Life Skills Lessons

June 21, 2010

LANSING, Mich. - Transitioning from the teen years into adulthood presents challenges for most young people, but for those in foster care the hurdles can sometimes be insurmountable. Michigan teens in foster care get a leg up this week when they meet at Central Michigan University for the annual Teen Conference sponsored by state agencies and foster care groups.

Laura Mitchell is a director with Lutheran Social Services, one of the organizations coordinating the event. She says many foster-care teens are simply not prepared for being on their own without support.

"Kids who are in foster care have a lot on their mind. They are dealing with a heavy burden of not living with their own family. Even if they are in a good, stable placement, sometimes their thoughts are not focused on the future. So more effort needs to go into giving the information to them."

Mitchell says many foster teens do not have the basic skills or knowledge necessary to live on their own. She says the conference helps fill in the gaps.

"We have workshops on education, finances, housing, car maintenance, 10 steps to taking control of your money, Job Search 101; we also have a workshop on teen dating violence and sexual assault."

The Teen Conference is being held at Central Michigan University to give the kids a glimpse of college life, with the hope that spending a few days on campus may inspire some to consider higher education.

Amy Miller/Laura Thornquist, Public News Service - MI