Developing Natural Mentoring Supports


Nathan Ross

Job Title

Director of Youth Programs


topical discussion


Foster and/or Adoptive Parents, Case Managers, Judges/Lawyers, Students, Advocates, people interested in mentoring

Presentation Summary:

The MFCAA CARES Program is a free and local program created in response to the need for youth in the foster care system to have a consistent role-model they can look to for guidance in preparing for adult life while building lasting relationships.

Youth who age out of foster care are seven times more likely to become involved in the criminal justice system before they’re 30. Research shows that quality mentoring can help change those statistics. Our CARES program helps reduce first-time drug and alcohol use, increase regular school attendance, improve grades and benefit caregiver and peer relationships.


-       The first objective is to provide attendees insight into the lives and thoughts that youth coming in to the foster care system experience. Providing this insight will allow for more compassion and understanding for youth in care.

-       The second objective is to introduce the CARES program and provide information about recruiting, training, expectations and program implementation. This will provide information for those who could use the services of CARES, and also serve as a guide to t

-       The third objective is to show the benefits of CARES for youth involved with the program. Through handouts and statistics, attendees will have a better idea of how youth are able to grow in CARES through one-on-one interactions and self-determination.




Nathan went into the foster care system at the age of 10 after witnessing the murder of two of his brothers by his birth mother. Nathan was in the foster care system with his remaining brother and sister for two years before he was adopted. With the help of a great support team consisting of mentors, teachers, therapists, and his new family, Nathan was able to overcome the early trials of his life and figured out how to best use his story to make a positive impact on children in the foster care system.


Nathan currently runs the youth mentoring program for Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Association. As a person who was in foster care and later went on to be adopted, he knows the struggles that children go through in looking for their forever families and hopes to provide support and resources to youth in their times of need by matching them with a support system that will help guide them through various trials while allowing for self-discovery.