Forever Families and Connections for Older Kids in Foster Care

By Giving List Staff   |   November 18, 2022
Kidsave partners with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, FosterAll, and Expressions58 to bring older kids from foster care to a weekend camping retreat called Camp Connect.

Matt, a Los Angeles teenager living in foster care, was “mad, irritated,” and most of all “disappointed” when his social worker told him that he wouldn’t be going home.

The thought of adoption was “embarrassing.”

Like so many of the 1,000-plus young people that will leave Los Angeles County’s foster care system every year without a permanent connection to an adult and family, Matt was circumspect about adoption. That is until he was connected to Kidsave, a two-decade-old organization that has used the simplest of strategies to gently give youth the power to decide if adoption is something worth considering.

Kidsave’s programs have been helping older kids in foster care find forever families for more than two decades.

“It’s a huge issue for a lot of these kids,” says Kidsave CEO and President Randi Thompson. “They’re so hurt that they don’t want to take the chance at connection again, because they don’t think anybody will want them. They don’t think they can connect.”

Despite this understandable reticence, Kidsave has, over the years, exposed more than 15,000 foster youth to the chance at adoption in the U.S. and internationally. About two thirds have found adoptive families or lifelong permanent connections.

The nonprofit organizes engaging events where youth and families meet and get to know each other in a group setting. Kidsave also partners to run “Camp Connect,” a safe space in the mountains above Los Angeles, where youth get the chance to come together to listen to shared experiences, and begin to redefine what connection could mean to their lives. “Often kids are ambivalent about or not interested in adoption before coming to camp. This is a chance for them to test the waters. Many of them leave changed, open to the idea that a connection to a caring adult could benefit their lives. They don’t have to be in it alone.”

Matt was one of the campers last year. He left camp with a sense of hope that maybe adoptive parents were out there somewhere. 

Matt soon would meet a couple at one of Kidsave’s events. After they expressed mutual interest, they were “matched through Kidsave’s hosting program.” From there it was weekend events: hiking, visiting the mall, and attending a football game. The teenager’s defenses melted. A year later, Matt is in the final stages of being adopted.

“They are supportive,” Matt says of his soon-to-be adoptive parents. When they suggest he do something, he says, “It is never because they want it for themselves, but because they know it is good for me. Because they want me to have a better future.”

In the fall of 2022, Matt was on a panel with his parents at Camp Connect, a partnership with Kidsave, the L.A. Department of Child and Family Services, FosterAll, and Expressions58. He shared his story with kids, like him, who were wary of making new connections. Many have now gone on to participate in Kidsave’s events themselves with the hope of finding forever families of their own.



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Director of Development: Liz Crozer


Kidsave helps find forever families for older kids in foster care and orphanages so they can thrive in a home filled with love, support and encouragement.

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I am the evidence of the generational change that adoption brings. Without the adoption of my mother and the path it put her on, I wouldn’t be here. Adoption not only changes the life of the child and the family at the center of it, but it also creates these beautiful ripples that flow from it, and my family is proof of that. And that’s why I am so proud to support organizations like Kidsave who are creating life-changing ripples as champions for older kids in foster care.
Lindsay Price
Actress and 2023 Kidsave
Inspirational Voices Honoree

Help Kidsave Find Loving Families for More Kids Before They Age Out of the System

Three out of four kids in Weekend Miracles have found adoptive families or a lifelong connection.

“Next year Kidsave will celebrate our 25th anniversary. In honor of this milestone, we are asking 25 local donors to give $1,000 or more. Each gift allows us to help even more children find forever families and get them the love and care they deserve,” says Randi Thompson, Kidsave CEO and co-founder.

Key Supporters

Autry Foundation
Karey Burke and Michael Duggan
California Federation for
Stronger Communities
Disney Worldwide Services, Inc.
Employees Community
Fund of Boeing California
Leonard Green Foundation
Max and Karel Guefen
The Hicker Family
Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
The Bob and Nita Hirsch
Family Foundation
David and Janyce Hoyt
Audrey and Sydney Irmas
Charitable Foundation
Thomas and Dorothy Leavey
Ralph M. Parsons Foundation
M B Seretean Foundation Inc.
Dave Thomas Foundation
for Adoption
Venable Foundation, Inc.
Warner Bros. Television
WonderTent Parties