BRAZIL, Ind. (WTHI) - There are twenty-nine thousand kids in foster care in Indiana. According to experts, there are twice as many children in need than homes available.
May is National Foster Care Month.
A Brazil, Indiana teen says her experience in foster homes was not always easy but now she is in the right home, getting the support she needs to be successful.
"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."
19-year-old Brianna Sawyer says she may have never gotten the chance to play the piano or the base drum in the school marching band had it not been for one person showing her she mattered.
"I basically, I grew stronger from that."
She was born and raised in Chicago. It was there she escaped abuse and neglect at age fifteen only to bounce from foster home to foster home, never finding the right fit.
"Well, when I wasn't doing so well, I didn't like school then, at the time, and my grades were horrible so I was pretty much, at the time, I was a troublemaker and everything."
Brianna says she spent time at a Terre Haute facility for struggling youth.
"I mean there was a lot of bad stuff, I mean, it weighed on you mentally and physically and everything."
She was there several months before she found the right person to care for her.
"Pretty much from there on my life pretty much changed."
Now Brianna is in what is called Collaborative Care. It's a program through the Department of Child Services for kids who have been through the system but have aged out and need help working toward independence.
Her grades are better now and she is on track to graduate from Northview High School in December.
"It can be hard and it can be tough but you have to fight through it. God is looking out for you, you know, and you have to just pray and make it through."
Experts say it can be more difficult to place teenagers and they need more people to open up their hearts and homes to kids who just need support.
Brianna says she has her driver's license and is working on getting a car. She is still unsure what she wants to do after graduation.
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