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New Mattapan residential buildings would include one that combines apartments for foster families and seniors willing to mentor the foster kids

The developers of the Olmsted Green development on the old Boston State Hospital along Harvard Street in Mattapan will soon file plans for six new buildings with 265 apartments and condos - including one building that would have 20 apartments for families with foster or adopted kids and 40 apartments for seniors who would agree to help them out.

In a letter of intent filed with the BPDA on Friday, Jerome Rappaport, Jr.'s Lena New Boston II and 2Life communities say their proposal to finish off a 20-year redevelopment at the 52-acre site, now home to some 500 housing units, would also include a new six-story building that would have 127 apartments for senior citizens, a day care, a wellness center and a convenience store, and buildings with 78 condos aimed at moderate-income families.

In their filing, they call the final 10-acre undeveloped piece of the old state-hospital site Olmsted Village, and detail their proposal for the Treehouse at Olmsted Village: "An intergenerational affordable housing community" in partnership with the Treehouse Foundation and Plummer Youth Promise, "two nationally recognized foster care service providers." The plans will include:

40 affordable apartments for seniors committed to providing mentoring and compassionate support to 12 foster/adoptive famiies and 8 youth (18-24 years of age) aging out of the foster care system, and a 5,000 sf community center for both the residents of Treehouse and to the broader Boston foster-adopted community to be developed by 2Life.

The proposed project plans will also include "preservation and restoration" of existing wetlands and woodlands on the site, a shuttle bus to and from the Forest Hills MBTA station and "short term, attractive equity investment opportunities to a socially and culturally diverse group of investors."

Olmsted Village filings and schedule.



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Stay positive. Love and a smile will always win.

Voting closed 18

Or is this just a developer pitching unicorn dust to get approval

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Are going to be overseeing that one building.

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with the foster kids, but said they would?

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… in the first place so don’t worry about it.

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I have a long way to go before I need to explore senior living.

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Those agencies are foster care providers. They are some of the better ones, but their job is to recruit foster parents and place kids in foster homes. They actually are arguably in the poorest position to "help families," since they are contracted to work with kids who have already been placed in care after all of the levels of governmental, nonprofit, and grassroots support have not provided what was needed. (What's needed is money in most cases, and there are demonstrated racial biases at all levels of CPS involvement.)

The primary experts in foster care are adults who experienced it as a child and parents who had children placed in care, and the secondary experts are the attorneys and clinicians who advocate for these folks. These folks overwhelmingly advocate for supporting families to remain together.

If this project had been run by experts in child "welfare," they would have been advised to provide housing to families with open DCF cases related to housing needs, not to foster parents (who are required to have sufficient income and who get paid more than government benefit rates -- see my more detailed comment below).

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What about parking?

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What I wrote about is just a relatively short letter letting the BPDA know that a more detailed filing is coming, and they'll be addressing parking in that.

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Who can be "fostered" by younger singles or couples?

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As a foster parent, adoptive parent, and child welfare professional of many years, I actually find this idea pretty terrible.

Research overwhelmingly shows that most kids are removed for reasons of poverty and nearly all kids do better long-term if not removed in the first place (all but severe, constant abuse, which is less than 1% of DCF cases).

All foster parents and 95% of adoptive parents receive a fairly hefty subsidy -- much more than the children's original families are able to get via public benefits. There are a TON of independent nonprofit agencies to "help kids in foster care" and very very few to specifically help families who are facing an investigation or have an open case; I've worked in family preservation for 20+ years and literally know three programs in the whole country that help families stay together (not counting programs that are directly contracted by CPS agencies). Families who wish to foster are required to have sufficient income to maintain their families plus any foster children "without relying on the subsidy," yet all these nonprofits decide it's a great savior act to provide money to foster families rather than original families. Families who apply to foster friends' or relatives' kids are often denied based on their income or other standards that don't directly impact their ability to keep children safe.

While kids in care do benefit from support from others who've experienced foster care, they typically don't derive this support from peers who are currently in care and in the struggle themselves. They are best served with adult clinicians or community members who experienced foster care in the past and have done some healing around it. They also very much need their own families, cultural groups, and neighborhoods. Kids in care almost always have families who have more strengths than weaknesses, despite myths in this regard suggesting that most have completely absent or completely incapable families. Even if parents aren't able to care for their kids 24/7, kids don't need this "divide and conquer" strategy where we decide their parents, relatives, and community are useless and they need complete replacements rather than assistance. We need to stop with this "kids in care need mentors" stuff. Most of them don't need more cooks in the kitchen, and they don't need more saviors; they need their families.

Why not create housing for all of the thousands of families whose kids are in care or at risk of going into care because of housing issues? Or the people who want to take in a known child who is over at their house every day but aren't allowed to because the state decides that being with a wealthy stranger is better than sleeping on the couch at grandma's? I can't tell you how many kids I know who were adopted by strangers, or bounced around in care for years, literally only because a relative didn't have enough bedrooms. DCF should be providing housing for these situations rather than paying strangers to take kids, but this isn't how the system is set up. If nonprofits want to help people with housing, they should help existing families.

BTW, Massachusetts typically has the "highest rate of abuse and neglect in the nation," but it actually doesn't have anything close to the sort given how well-funded the state is; it has the highest rate of substantiated cases, and is frequently mentioned at national conferences as known for being absolutely ridiculous in the types of things that get substantiated:


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Sorry you have some bad experiences but I'm optimistic someone is developing housing for something other than luxury condos.

Having driven through this development for ten years it seems to have been completed and maintained fairly well.

Curious how this plays out...

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Sorry you have some bad experiences

She's speaking from a depth of experience well beyond those of most "experts". Maybe we should listen to people like this and not brush them off with dismissive platitudes.

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.. I don’t know what is.

Extra points for using the we tactic.

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That decided to have kids and can’t afford them? Rewarding bad behavior like that sounds like a terrible idea.

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