Enhanced Horizons, a 20-building, college-style campus located five miles west of Ingram, houses a transitional living program for aged-out foster youth, providing residence, guidance and education for up to 32 young adults at a time.
To gain admission, an applicant must present a Personal Plan showing how he or she plans to become independent within two years. The resident “pays” rent through productive involvement, including gainful employment, enrollment in higher education, job training, life skills counseling, and community service.
Throughout our history, we have been aware of a profound gap in the foster care system. Upon high school graduation, the state of Texas declares foster youth to be adults. They must suddenly live without a support system – one that normal young adults can expect from family during this time of transition.
Foster graduates have the same desires as other teens. They wish to go to college or to trade school, or get married or enter the work force. However, with the system finished with them, they often have no place to go when times get tough. Some may start out with successes, but if they lose that first job or relationship, or even just need a place for summer between years in college, they might begin a downward spiral that lands them in homelessness or in a dysfunctional environment.
We have kept track of our graduates since our first residents finished high school in 1980, and it is clear that the period between 18 and 24 puts them most at risk, without refuge or a place to retreat when challenges or failures come.
Hence, HCYR has established a transitional living campus for young adults, ages 18–24, called Enhanced Horizons. In 2011, an adjunct program was created at EH for young mothers in need of support to obtain education and job skills in order to provide for their children.