Mark was placed at Nashua Children’s Home in 2005, less than two months before his 16th birthday. He was from Concord, wanted to return to Concord, and frankly, was a bit rambunctious for much of his placement at Nashua Children’s Home. He maintained a relationship with his mother, but reunifying with her was, and continues to be, unrealistic.

Most often, 16-year-olds transition to our Independent Living Home (IL) after a period of exceedingly positive behavior, which we use as an indication that they can manage a setting with less intensive supervision and more responsibility. While it’s not necessarily a “reward” to move to the IL setting, we do use it as a bit of a carrot for our youth. Mark, with his verbosity getting in the way, was never quite able to meet this threshold. At long last, we simply made the decision that Mark needed the IL setting, predicted that he would do well in this setting, and moved him. He excelled in the IL program, maintaining employment, doing well in school, and generally behaving himself.

When Mark turned 18 during his senior year at Nashua North, when he essentially had “aged-out” of the child-protective system, and was free to return to Concord to play his own way, he instead petitioned the Concord District Court to continue his placement at Nashua Children’s Home. Mark graduated in 2008, and then took up tenancy in our Transitional Living Home, while taking classes at Nashua Community College.

Like so many of us, the source of some of Mark’s problems, his “big mouth” (for lack of a better description) was also his greatest strength. Last August, Mark enrolled in the New England School of Communications in Bangor, Maine, and is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications. One of his projects was to produce a Public Service Announcement for Nashua Children’s Home

Now, home for the summer, Mark was in need of housing and a job, both tight markets in this area. We were able to offer Mark housing once again in our Transitional Living Program and have hired him on to assist our maintenance staff this summer

When the need for aging-out youth to have “permanency” is trumpeted, the continuing role played by Nashua Children’s Home is often downplayed. “Youth need someone,” the experts argue, “whom they can call if they have a flat tire at 2am.” Simply put, Mark would call the staff of Nashua Children’s Home, and would be appropriately confident that those counselors, with whom he continues to maintain relationships, would be there to help.

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