DEAR ABBY: A year ago I was placed in an emergency shelter for seven months, until I graduated from high school. I turned 18 three weeks ago. Because of state guidelines, I was forced to leave the shelter and went to a foster home for a week.
The shelter has a policy that there be no contact between the staff and clients for 18 months, but I was allowed to call there. Last week, I got a call from the director of the shelter, saying I "needed to stop calling and move on with my life." My problem is, before I went there I had no positive support or role models, and now, when something good happens, I want to call and talk to one of them because I got real close to them.
Do you have any advice on how to move on with my life? -- LOST IN ALABAMA
DEAR LOST: It is unconscionable that children are dumped from the system with no skills, no one to confide in, and no one to mentor them.
Contact the foster youth program in your state. Ask to speak to a social worker and inquire about transitional counseling and support. You should also contact the YWCA and see if they provide mentoring. You have reached a point where you must decide where you want to go in life. Have you considered a vocational school or college? Their financial offices can provide suggestions about part-time employment while you're completing your education. Once you're enrolled, you'll meet other young people with positive goals and make friends.