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February 2011Vol. 12, No. 1Theater Ensemble Gives Foster Care Alumni a Voice

Funded by a grant from the Children's Bureau between 2005 and 2010, Adoptions Unlimited, Inc., administered the Family Connections Project in Illinois to provide a new model for promoting youth permanency. The project's emphasis was on exploring open adoption and other permanency options for older youth. Family Connections was one of nine projects funded by the Children's Bureau under the Adoption Opportunities Grants for "Developing Adoption Services and Supports for Youth Who Wish to Retain Contact with Family Members in Order to Improve Permanency Outcomes."

One of the project's major and most innovative achievements was the creation of a theater troupe, the Strong Connections Theater Ensemble. Over 2 years, alumni of the Illinois child welfare system performed a 45-minute play based on the experiences of their journey through foster care, while struggling to find and maintain personal connections along the way. The moving play received many positive reviews and served as a vehicle for getting the message to the public about the need for families for older youth in foster care.

Learn more about the Strong Connections Theater Ensemble and see the performance:

To read more about the Family Connections Project, visit:

Related Item

Children's Bureau Express last wrote about the Family Connections Project in "Promoting Openness With the Family Connections Project: An Interview" (May 2009).