Updated: Apr 30, 2021
"You're never going to be anything!" You're going to be just like your crackhead mother!" "Maybe you should try community college first!" "Perhaps a trade program. College is not for everyone!" "I'm sorry, there are no resources for young people that age out of foster care at 21". "You wont be able to have a successful relationship because you are broken".
These words are very familiar to me as a young African American woman that was in foster care. If I had a dollar for every "can't" that people impressed upon me, I wouldn't have needed any resources after foster care.
Hi, I am Carrie Relf and I am the Founder and CEO of Foster Can, Inc., where "Can" rises above "Can't" Every Time! I grew up in Brooklyn, NY. I was placed into foster care at a young age due to parental mental health challenges, neglect, and ultimately remained in foster care due to my mother's ongoing struggles with substance abuse. Navigating the child welfare system was extremely difficult. However, trying to do that as well as navigate the educational system, social services system, housing system, employment system, my trauma, and while trying to have some normalcy was almost impossible. Yet, I did it. I am... a wife, employed in the child welfare field, a growing entrepreneur, a Pastor, and the list goes on. Most of all, I am an example of what CAN happen when you work hard and have the support of compassionate individuals in your corner.
My experiences have fueled a passion in me to help other youth in care, and youth transitioning out of care, overcome all of their barriers to success. No negative label has the power to determine our future or our identity.
Foster Can, Inc. will, through various programs, bridging, coaching, mentorship, and charity, do our part to make sure that every stigma that comes with being a youth, current or former, in foster care, is reduced and ultimately dismantled. Welcome to our page and please connect with us.