January is national youth mentoring month; Child Safe Michigan seeks individuals to mentor youth and young adults in foster care - Judson Center

January is national youth mentoring month; Child Safe Michigan seeks individuals to mentor youth and young adults in foster care

New #MagnifyMentoring campaign to be explored in January 21 zoom event   

Media Contact: Barbara Fornasiero, EAFocus Communications; barbara@eafocus.com; 248.260.8466; Khadija Walker-Fobbs; Judson Center; Khadija_Walker-Fobbs@judsoncenter.org; 248.837.2104

Royal Oak, Mich. —January 14, 2021— Child Safe Michigan, an affiliate of multi-county social service agency Judson Center providing foster care, adoption and mentoring services to neglected and abused children in Southeast Michigan, is celebrating national youth mentoring month in January with a new campaign, ‘Magnify Mentoring,’ to attract individuals to mentor youth in foster care. Child Safe Michigan’s mentoring program is one of the largest of its kind in Michigan focusing solely on children and young adults to age 23 in foster care. The campaign will kick off January 21 at a Zoom meeting event from 6:30-7:30 pm, with details available here.

The goals of mentoring through Child Safe Michigan, which mentored 61 individuals in the 2019-2020 fiscal year, include teaching life skills, positive community involvement, increased self-esteem, establishing caring and consistent relationships, improved age-appropriate behavior at home, school, and in the community, and completion of high school.

According to the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) website, there are approximately 13,000 children in the foster care system in Michigan and 300 children who need an adoptive family. Foster care provides a safe, nurturing home for children until they can be returned to their families; if they cannot be returned to their homes, foster parents may be asked to provide permanent homes. A recent change by the MDHHS increased the maximum mentoring age from 21 to 23. Khadija Walker-Fobbs, Chief Strategy Officer at Judson Center and a leader in Michigan’s foster care services sector, welcomes the age update, noting it is especially helpful for young adults pursuing a degree, career, or trade beyond high school.

“I applaud MDHHS for this move. I know from mentoring children and young adults throughout my career that they often need additional support and encouragement to graduate from a community college, four-year program, or trade school,” Walker-Fobbs said. “Many youth with a foster care experience do not have the same safety nets in place that others may have. Many have also faced several disruptions in their primary and secondary schooling – and this often causes a time delay in starting a post-secondary program. The extra time – and mentoring services – provide additional support and can have a huge impact on the positive trajectory of their adult lives.”

The free Zoom event on January 21 is designed to #magnify mentoring and attract additional mentors so that more individuals in foster care can thrive. Led by Child Safe Michigan Mentoring Supervisor Nicole Malane, attendees will receive information on what it means to be a mentor and get answers to questions they may have about mentoring. The event features a panel of current Child Safe Michigan mentors:

  • Malaika Samuel (Clinton Township)
  • Danial Shamoon (Royal Oak)
  • David Chisholm (Royal Oak)
  • Mary Albertson (Northville) – also a Child Safe Michigan board member

“We want to magnify mentoring because we know the value it brings to the lives of children and young adults coping with the challenges of being in foster care while being separated from their biological families,” Malane said. “The pandemic has presented additional challenges for foster care and adoption, both in reporting abuse and in getting children in and out of foster care faster. Mentoring is always important, but this year, we feel an extra need.”

Testimonials from Child Safe Michigan mentors and mentees can be viewed here. To become a mentor, individuals must submit an application to Child Safe Michigan; attend an interview with a Child Safe staff member experienced in mentoring; complete a background check; attend a detailed training session on the mentoring program; and then be matched with a mentee based on common interests and geographic location. All qualified mentors are encouraged to apply; there is a particularly strong need for male mentors. Questions can be directed to mentoring@childsafemichgan.org or by calling the mentoring department at 248-837-2073.


About Child Safe Michigan

Child Safe Michigan, an affiliate of Judson Center, provides foster care, adoption, licensing, and mentoring services to neglected and abused children in Southeast Michigan.  More than just meeting the basic requirements, Child Safe provides safety and stability allowing children to grow and thrive in our care. Child Safe received the 2019 Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Child Welfare Team Excellence award for its commitment to Michigan children and families. Visit https://www.childsafemichigan.org/ to learn more.


About Judson Center

Judson Center, trusted by Michigan families for more than 97 years, is a non-profit human service agency that provides expert, comprehensive services that strengthen children, adults and families impacted by abuse and neglect, autism, developmental, behavioral and physical health challenges so they can achieve whole health, well-being, and maximum potential. Judson Center also offers integrated primary healthcare for all through Judson Center Health in Warren and is a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC). Since opening its doors in 1924, Judson Center has grown to change the lives of over 12,000 children, adults, and families each year. Judson Center has offices in Genesee, Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties. Headquarters are located at 30301 Northwestern Highway, Suite 100, Farmington Hills, MI 48334-3277.  Learn more at https://www.judsoncenter.org/.