Beth first entered foster care at age 9 after the death of her grandparents. By the time she was 17, Beth had experienced more than 30 different placements. Beth didn’t like foster care – she wanted freedom and often ran away. Beth was 17 and on the run when she found out she was pregnant. Living in a group home, Beth gave birth to daughter Annabella on her own 18th birthday.

Craving independence after years spent in the system of care, Beth went out on her own with her newborn daughter. They got an apartment and Beth was going to school for her GED. But living independently was much harder than Beth expected. Soon, she stopped going to school, her phone was cut off and she was unable to pay her rent. She found herself homeless, living in her truck.

Then Beth crossed paths with an attorney who told her that because of a change in Florida law, foster youths are now able to remain in foster care until they are 21. Under this new law, Beth discovered she was still eligible for foster care and the services that come with it.

With the help of Eckerd and her case manager, Beth, now 19, and two-year-old Anabella are now living at the Center for Manifestation in Tampa where Beth has a mentor and is learning about cooking and social skills. She is back in school and will complete the work needed to receive her GED by July. Her long-term goals include studying cosmetology or going to college to study business, management, real estate or taxes. Beth is now thriving and is taking full advantage of her second chance.