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Current and Former Foster Youth Are Not Alone
By Elisabeth Handley, Public Outreach Specialist, Child Welfare Services
Teens who have spent time in foster care have already experienced maltreatment, loss or disrupted relationships. To heal from this trauma, they need stable homes and living situations where they can develop and maintain supportive, consistent and loving relationships. Efforts by caregivers and youth to build strong relationships can quickly derail when they face barriers to accessing crucial community-based, trauma-informed support during critical moments.
That’s where the Family Urgent Response System (FURS) steps in.
Administered by Child Welfare Services in San Diego, FURS is a statewide hotline designed to provide youth currently or formerly in foster care and their caregivers immediate trauma-informed support when issues big or small arise.
“I was so pleased with FURS’ service,” said one long-term caregiver. “The counselor was so reassuring. She questioned me about the situation and guided me as I worked with my foster child. She helped me find ways to calm them down to where they were no longer head-banging.”
Children, youth and caregivers often report having trouble finding the support they need when they most need it, not knowing whom to contact during critical moments, and/or being turned away because their situation does not rise to a predetermined level of urgency.
FURS provides free, 24/7 support, and is a safe, judgment-free resource to help youth and caregivers feel supported.
Its services include:
Free phone, text and chat support. Caring counselors are available to listen and help children, teens and caregivers work through any conflicts or problems they are having.
Local mobile response teams are available to swiftly come to meet at a place children, youth and caregivers choose if they want in-person support.
Help connecting to community resources for ongoing support after immediate needs are met.
FURS is an “important and indispensable advocacy for caregivers and youth,” said one youth in extended foster care. “As the middleman between a youth and caregiver, it can bring unity and harmony into the relationship and resources to help both the youth and caregiver.”
This coordinated, community-based solution helps preserve relationships, link youth and families to longer-term supports and services, promote healing, and prevent calls to law enforcement.
FURS can be reached at (833) 939-3877 (call or text) or at https://www.cal-furs.org.