What happens to foster care youth when they age out of foster care at age 18? While most young adults living with their biological or adopted families tend to move on to college or a job, an estimated 20% of foster care young adults become homeless and face challenges such as unemployment and substance abuse. To address the gap emancipated foster youth face in achieving full independence, Janus launched the Caples Terrace housing program in 2019, in partnership with the Vancouver Housing Authority housing program. The three-story, 28-unit Caples Terrace apartment building is located in Vancouver Housing Authority’s Skyline Crest neighborhood.
According to Jessica Smith, one of Janus’ Caples Terrace case workers, “The majority of youth living in Caples Terrace apartments are formerly foster care youth.” Young adults aging out of the foster care system—ages 18-24—who have been accepted at Caples Terrace receive an array of services and support to achieve self-sufficiency. With her office located in Caples Terrace, Jessica and other case workers are available to help youth with a variety of needs that include managing their budgets, finding medical or mental health resources, obtaining furniture or helping them create community at Caples Terrace. Once enrolled in the program, youth are required to create a plan, showing 8 hours a month where they are working toward achieving milestones, such as being employed, enrolled in school, meeting with a counselor or engaged in community activities. To become eligible to live at Caples Terrace, youth must be working with partnering agencies, like The Department of Children, Youth and Family, the YWCA’s Independent Living Skills program, Clark College and Janus’ Perch and Nest programs. Each resident is required to create a plan, showing 8 hours a month where they are working toward achieving milestones, such as being employed, enrolled in school, meeting with a counselor or engaged in community activities. They are also required to pay 35% of their income towards rent. The goal is for each youth to leave Caples Terrace in 2-5 years and live independent lives. Says Jessica, “The success rate is high. It is very satisfying for me to watch their progress, seeing where they have started and how far they have come.” Youth as young as age 17 can get on the waitlist for an apartment at Caples Terrace. For more information, contact Jessica Smith at: 360-605-3391. Support this program and DONATE today!