Raise the Future is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization that works on behalf of children in foster care. It was originally known as Adoption Exchange. Since its name change in 2009, the organization has expanded to include a Permanency-focused model and Evidence-based practices. CBS4 is now a partner with the organization.

Adoption Exchange is now Raise the Future

Formerly known as The Adoption Exchange, Raise the Future is a nonprofit organization that connects foster children with families in need of adoptive parents. The organization was founded in 1983 by child advocates and social workers in Colorado to improve the lives of children in care. It is a leader in best practices for foster children and has assisted more than 9,000 children.

Raise the Future was founded by Dixie van de Flier Davis, a tireless advocate for children who passed away from cancer in February. Her work with CBS4 Denver helped thousands of children finds permanent homes. She worked with the agency for 40 years, and in that time, 70 percent of the children featured on the show found loving homes.

Evidence-based models

Evidence-based models are often mandated by federal agencies to ensure that their programs meet certain standards. For instance, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 allocated $650 million for programs with proven methods to improve health outcomes and address chronic disease rates. And the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) mentions the word evidence-based 13 times in Title IV. Funding will be provided to 75 communities over the next five years to implement evidence-based policies.

Unfortunately, the implementation of evidence-based policy is often fraught with problems. First, it tends to simplify the available evidence and, consequently, leads to flawed policy prescriptions. Second, it can exclude other valid world views from legitimate stakeholders. Further, it can erode the institutional trust of the actors involved.

Permanency-focused model

Youth in foster care need to be involved in conversations about permanency. They are often experiencing trauma and need to be able to connect with and bond with their family members. A permanency-focused model for raising the future should help youth understand that they are loved and deserve to be raised by caring adults. Youth should be given ample time to process and understand the permanency process so that they can make an informed decision.

A permanency-focused model is based on evidence-based practices. Using a multifaceted approach, the program ensures that a caring adult is present for every child. Offering a range of services, it helps youth wait for their permanent families to focus on healing and developing strong relationships.

In the fall of 2008, Casey Family Programs partnered with the Georgia Department of Human Services to implement the Georgia Permanency Roundtable Project. This effort targeted the legal permanency of nearly 500 foster children in two metro Atlanta counties. It involved Casey’s permanency consultants, DFCS case managers, supervisors, and administrators. The project involved four reports, each focusing on permanency outcomes after 24 months and at twelve months. The results of these studies will provide valuable information to policymakers and child welfare professionals.

Partnership with CBS4

The nonprofit organization Raise the Future helps connect youth in foster care with caring adults through its CHOICE mentoring program. At the CHOICE matching event, the teens were interested in meeting mentors. The event also provided an opportunity for them to get to know each other better. The goal is to build relationships that will last a lifetime.

Dixie van de Flier Davis, a former foster care and adoption advocate, founded Raise the Future and Adoption Exchange. She passed away of cancer on Feb. 21. The nonprofit was a longtime partner of CBS4 in its mission to find permanent homes for foster children. During the 40 years of the program, over 70% of the children featured were placed in permanent homes.

CBS4 has a vision that is very important to this organization. Since 1980, it has helped over 10,000 children find a loving and caring home. The program is filmed on television and is featured during the Thanksgiving Day Parade. In addition, CBS4 will be airing a statewide digital marketing campaign to promote the nonprofit.