[INTERVIEW] Lydia Cincore-Templeton Raises the Bar for Californiaâs Foster Kids<br />

Lydia Cincore-Templeton

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no expectations of how children act. I accept them for they are and just try to help every child on a case-by-case basis. We have an individualized service plan for every child to give them the education they need to compete.  When you see the statistics here in California, that over 75% of the adults who are in prison have been in foster care, something’s wrong. But no one cares anymore what they’re experience was like in the formative years because now you’re an adult so you should’ve gotten over it. They’re not expected to achieve as children, so they begin to assimilate.

So the work we do with the children is to make sure they’re whole individuals. A child can’t make good decisions if they have no foundation, no role models.  If the biological family can’t provide that then the community has a responsibility.  In America we just say, “Put them in the foster care system.” Systems don’t raise children, people do. So we as a community of people are responsible for every child, whether I’m the biological parent or not.  That’s our approach.

EBONY: And now, you’ve been honored among these elite American women as one of the women who “Make America” by AOL. With that national support and $10,000 grant, how do you hope to expand your organization’s efforts?

LCT: The ‘Makers’ grant has given us a phenomenal opportunity to showcase our program for girls and our curriculum for children. We’re working on a bullying program right now and we’ve also been able to have culturally enriching experiences for the girls, taking them to tea and doing just-because activities once a month because of the grant. We also have them study the life of a ‘Maker’ in each session, and they’re getting ideas about what they can do and be.

Our long term goal is to go around the country where foster youth are heavily populated and to share our model with organizations who know the community. We’re trying to make systemic changes by showing others how we’re achieving the goal of eradicating the underachievement of youth in foster care. It can be done! We exist to make sure every foster child in our program graduates from high school. We do that and then we move on to the next mission. There’s a lot of work to be done.

Brooke Obie writes the award-winning blog DistrictDiva.com. Follow her on Twitter @BrookeObie.