Good Samaritan Assists Young Men & Women Aging Out of Foster Care

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Scotty Brown

Marketing & Communications Specialist


In years past it wasn’t uncommon for young men and women “aging out” of Missouri’s foster child program to receive not much more than a large plastic trash bag for their clothes and a “good luck” pat on the back, leaving many of them without further support to help them along in their path to successful adulthood.

That scenario has changed dramatically in Southwest Missouri thanks to the assistance from Good Samaritan, according to Jayme Raynor, Community Development Director. Founded in 1959 as an orphanage, Good Samaritan now serves youth in foster care and families in crisis. The not-for-profit employs 190 full-time and part-time team members and depends on donations from civic organizations and the general public. As an example, she said the West Side Optimists of Springfield recently presented Good Samaritan with $3,500 to provide assistance in funding that helps prepare youth aging out of foster care to live independently. This program begins for individuals at age 16 continuing to age 21. Youth in this program can continue to receive counseling after they age out of foster care. More than 60 individuals are enrolled in the program throughout any time of the year.

Sarah, for example, came into Good Samaritan’s Transitional Living program at age 19 in 2021. She came from a big family without the parental support and guidance needed to step into adulthood confidently, Raynor said.

“Sarah loved the thought of living on her own, but she was not sure where to begin. Our staff visited Sarah weekly to share the knowledge of ‘adulting’. She learned things like signing her apartment lease, setting up a bank account and applying for college and employment.”

Two years later when she aged out at 21, she had $18,000 in her bank account; a loving relationship; her own apartment; and a steady job at an architectural firm. In addition, she is working toward a bachelor’s degree.”

“I always dreamed of moving out to be on my own but the thought of it scared me,” Sarah said. “With the help of Good Samaritan and Laura’s Home, I was able to have someone by my side as I aged out of foster care. Life isn’t as scary when you have the support you’ve never had before.”

“Marcos is another former youth who has become a successful adult. As a youth he participated in Good Samaritan’s residential treatment program in Brighton and then joined the Transitional Living program.” Raynor said. “He later enlisted in the military and traveled the world. He came back to meet with our current youth last year to talk to them about the future and show them what is possible.”

“When talking about his experiences at Good Samaritan, Marcos says, “Like I told the boys — and I mean it — if I was not here [the treatment program], I would not be where I am now… there is light, there is hope.”

In addition to Good Samaritan Boys Ranch’s 180-acre facility in Brighton, Mo., where boys receive mental health treatment and attend school, GSBR operates group homes in Springfield and Willard, Mo., for young men and women aging-out of foster care. The organization also owns an apartment with eight units and currently leases another 23 through an agreement with local apartment managers. Good Samaritan fully furnishes apartments for these youth, with help from generous donors. GSBR will co-sign lease agreements until these individuals age out of foster care in Missouri at the age of 21.

“Most important is that these young individuals will have a support system to fall back on when they encounter everyday occurrences that can be a challenge to anyone who has ‘left the nest’ to be on their own,” Raynor said.