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Youth seeking families featured in gallery

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Every kid needs a forever family. A photography show that opens in Auburn on Wednesday puts names and faces to the youth who live in local foster care while hoping to find permanent homes and families. Our goal is for no youth to age out of the foster care system without a permanent family connection legally, emotionally and physically as strong as we can make it, said Lana Fredrickson, a social worker for Destination Family. The youth permanency project combines the efforts of a handful of social service and adoption agencies, including Sierra Adoption Services, where Fredrickson also works. Destination Family aims to create lifelong family connections for Placer, Nevada and Sacramento County foster youth ages 11-18. The portraits and personalities of four of the more than 1,000 children are showcased in the Placer Gallery of Children and Youth at Placer Kids. An open-house reception is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. Catherine Busch Johnston photographed and documented interviews with local foster youth. Portraits and a DVD made by the local photographer and videographer will be available for viewing. She really has a heart for the young people, Fredrickson said of Busch-Johnston. The four youth featured are: Joseph, 13, who likes fishing, drawing and dirt-biking, has an interest in animals and 4-H, and dreams of finding a family that includes a dog or other pets; Adam, 12, who has an inquisitive mind and loves to read; Amber, a lively 15-year-old with interests in drama, music and the arts; and Joey, an energetic, engaging 12-year-old with an active imagination. The portraits are really the profound voice of the kids, Fredrickson said. You see these photographs and you understand ” they want to belong somewhere, they want to belong to a family. They're heart-rendering photographs. Their eyes, their faces reflect what they want, what they need. Fredrickson said the need for family support doesn't stop when foster youth turn 18 and become independent adults. She also said foster youth are at higher risk of incarceration, pregnancy, homelessness and unemployment as young adults. Fredrickson said she's excited about showcasing local foster youth in this manner for a couple reasons. It hopefully gives a face to the nameless numbers that wait in long-term foster care without a hope of finding a family, she said. It excites me to find these people forever homes, and to encourage people to open their homes and hearts to young people who need a family to come home to. They're good kids and they deserve to have a second chance at a family that they can grow up with. Roseville resident Jeanne Baine plans to attend Wednesday's Placer Gallery of Children and Youth opening reception. Baine serves as an example of a local success story ” she celebrates the one-year anniversary of adopting her daughter Barbara, age 14, on Wednesday. We're both doing really good, Baine said Monday. Baine said, when considering adoption and what kind of child might fit well in her home, she thought of the need for support of middle-school-aged youth. I think some of the older kids appreciate it more, because they know what a good home is, and they appreciate that you chose them over everyone else, she said. They're looking for love, just like everybody else. They need to feel like they belong, just like everybody else. The Journal's Loryll Nicolaisen can be reached at lorylln@goldcountrymedia.com, or comment online at auburnjournal.com.