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Extended Foster Care: Shreveport woman moves out of home to help at risk young girls

“When a child calls me and she’s homeless and living in her car and trying to make it on her own, (I knew) then I needed to do something.”
Published: Feb. 6, 2020 at 1:22 PM CST
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - A new law is giving young girls extra time in foster care even after they age out of the system — it’s called extended foster care.

A Shreveport woman wants to make sure young girls don’t fall victim to homelessness and has opened up her home as a safe haven.

From the outside, it looks like a typical South Shreveport home — however, the ranch-style brick building is much more than that — it’s Beulah’s Safe Haven.

The home names after Tanya Barnes’ mother, Beulah, a business owner who loved to give back in the Mississippi hometown.

Barnes says she wants to make sure every child has a chance.

“When a child calls me and she’s homeless and living in her car and trying to make it on her own, (I knew) then I needed to do something.”

The home offers extended foster care services. Barnes says up until the year 2019, there was not an extended foster car so many young ladies ended up homeless. This new extension, means children do not age out of the system at 18 if they want to stay.

According to the Department of Children and Family Services, Governor John Bel Edwards signed legislation to extend foster care to age 21 for all youth in care on their 18th birthday.

Beulah’s Safe Haven will continue to nurture and educate many of the girls who are still in high school by the time they age out of the system. The home can house up to six young ladies.

The extended foster care program is extended until 21 years old, but Barnes is only taking applications from those between the ages of 18-19 years old. A house mom is always present in the home which is fully furnished.

Barnes decided to take action to help more young ladies. She moved out of her own home and into a rental home so she could provide a safe place for those at risk.

“This is a home where they and live and we can help them get ready and be able to go out on their own," she said.

Barnes says without this program many young ladies fall victim to sex trafficking as a means of survival and trying to find love.

Chloe Matthews was about to age out of the foster system with no life skills and nowhere to go. Barnes’ daughter provided a place for Chloe to live until she could graduate and get out on her own.

Matthews now has a full-time job and has her own place to live. She adds that places like Beulah’s Safe Haven are needed.

Barnes says before she can accept clients, some renovations need to be made to get the home ready.

“In order to open we need the sprinkler system throughout the home which is $10,000 and (we need) handicap accessibility in the bathroom and to widen one of the bedrooms.”

“It was a vision God gave me and he blessed me with this home," Barnes said. "The thing is you have to give back and at the end of the day when my time is up I want to know that my time on earth, I did something to help somebody else.”

If you would like to make a donation to Beulah’s Safe Haven, click here.

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