Community Guardianship

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Community Guardianship

The goal of the Community Guardianship Initiative is to fill the need for long-term guidance for youth who are preparing to leave the Oregon Child Welfare System.

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In the gap between the current reality for some transitioning youth and what is needed for adult success, there is a rare opportunity for us to be involved in community-centered, innovative action. We can make a difference and help these youth become successful members of our community.

Studies indicate that most young adults who leave the foster care system without long-term support find overwhelming challenges. Some face homelessness, unemployment, fragmented education goals, and a greater risk of engaging in illegal activities.

The goal of the Community Guardianship Initiative is to fill the need for long-term guidance for youth who are preparing to leave the Oregon Child Welfare System.

Community Guardianship (CG) facilitates a voluntary connection between a youth, 16 years or older, and an adult advocate who has been approved and trained by Catholic Community Services (CCS). The advocate provides a guardian-like relationship with the youth until they have made the transition to successful adulthood. A cornerstone of this relationship is three promises made by CCS to each youth:

  1. To provide a safe, caring adult relationship that offers advocacy, support, and mentoring
  2. To provide safe, clean and affordable housing
  3. To provide opportunities for full-time or part-time employment within the community or with CCS.


Through the duration of the relationship, the youth and advocate have the support of a Community Guardianship Coordinator and the Community Guardianship Council – an interdisciplinary team of CCS staff and volunteers from other community and government organizations associated with foster care. Both exist to oversee CG, to ensure follow through on the three promises, and to look after the best interests of youth and advocate.

The primary role of an advocate is to build a safe, stable and nurturing relationship with a youth who is willing to put in time and energy toward becoming a responsible, self-supporting adult. These enduring relationships have been proven to strengthen the capacity for resilience: the ability to bounce back time after time, explore options, learn from mistakes and then gain support for new action. Resilience will help a youth move forward and resolve issues of historic loss, which is critical to a young person’s healthy transition into adulthood.

As an advocate, you will have an opportunity through CG to make a difference for a youth. Is there any greater gift than to participate in the success of another?

The Community Guardianship Initiative is made possible through House Bill 4023 (www.oregonlaws.org/ors/419B.371) and finds it roots in current research. Particularly relevant is the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative regarding Youth-Adult Partnership and the importance of resilience. See www.JimCaseyYouth.org and the Center for Study of Social Policy at www.cssp.org for details.


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Catholic Community Services
Main Office 
Bishop Steiner Building
3737 Portland Rd NE,
Salem, Oregon 97301

P.O. Box 20400
Salem, Oregon 97307-0400
Phone: (503)-390-2600
Fax: (503)-390-8562 | info@ccswv.org
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