Local teen shares challenges of going through the foster care system


Moving from home to home is something common for kids in foster care. 

And, it makes it difficult for some to learn life skills that will help once they’re old enough to live on their own.

Now, there’s a new initiative in Sedgwick County to help people like 16-year-old Austin Cordova, a foster teen in Valley Center.

Austin takes things head on with a smile on his face. 

Even though he’s been living at a loving home since January, life has had its fair share of challenges for the teen.

“After I was born, I was just kind of put all over the place because I was taken out my bio family when I was two,” said Austin.

Since then, Austin has changed schools seven times, lived with more than 15 foster families and has been adopted twice.

“Sometimes we had to sleep on little cots or just a pillow and we didn’t have a blanket,” said Austin.

Bouncing through the foster care system for years, Austin lost contact with several of his siblings, except for his sister Tesa, who he was adopted with years ago.

“Things were going good for a while and then they started abusing me and my sister,” he said.

Austin’s story, is not too different from some of the struggles other foster kids have experienced. 

And now, Wichita and Sedgwick County are trying to make it easier for kids like Austin to adapt to life outside the system once they turn 18. 

“There are foster care youth that are exiting out and they don’t have anywhere to go, actually sometimes they become homeless,” said Michelle Rucker, of the Wichita Sedgwick County Community Action Partnership. 

The new initiative provides job training skills that will eventually help kids like Austin find success as adults.

It’s a chance to accomplish his goals and dream big.

“One of my main goals is to go to college and be a meteorologist,” he said.

For anyone exiting the foster care system in need of help getting job skills, there is plenty of room in the program.

Agencies can reach out to the Wichita Sedgwick County Community Action Partnership

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