TRUCKEE, CA, UNITED STATES, July 24, 2023/EINPresswire.com/ — iFoster’s (www.ifoster.org) CEO and Co-Founder Serita Cox was interviewed by Meghna Chakrabarti for the weekly broadcast “On Point”, exploring the topic “Inside America’s critical shortage of foster care homes”. The show is broadcast on more than 300 stations coast to coast, reaching more than 1.9 million listeners.
The broadcast explored the chronic shortage of foster homes in the U.S. and the direct impact this has on the lives of the young people who rely on the child welfare system to care for them.
In addition to Serita Cox, four young people who serve as iFoster Peer Navigators, connecting their peers in foster care to the resources available via iFoster and their local communities, shared their lived experiences of foster home shortages, multiple disruptive placement changes, and lack of input into what could have improved their time in foster care.
ENRIQUE (25, California) – “I got hospitalized one time and they made me stay in the hospital for almost a week longer than I should have been just because they were trying to find me a new placement as well. A lot of times they move people around and they don’t have a set plan, so they’ll move you out of your house, but they don’t even have a home for you to go to. It’s inhumane to be honest. Especially for a kid, you know, it’s very traumatic.”
BRITTANY (24, Kentucky) – “I ended up couch surfing for about eight months before they found me and moved me an hour away and threw me into foster care. That placement was shut down very quickly for drug abuse, and I was moved into another house that had seven other children in a two bedroom, one bathroom home. It ended up getting shut down for physical and sexual abuse. I bounced around to about 17 different homes through my time in foster care. And I feel like the services offered to my foster parents, a monthly stipend to get her clothes, to get her toiletries. Here’s reimbursement for gas mileage, you know, taking her to and from doctor’s appointments — that should have been offered to my mother so I wouldn’t have to get removed, and then that would’ve saved me a literal lifetime of trauma.”
JEWELL (25, Ohio) – “I was probably like 13 years old, and we’d spend hours upon hours inside of the actual children’s services agency. So in that lobby you’d see a bunch of different kids, with a bunch of trash bags, just sitting there and waiting and waiting. Then you get out of school and it’s like, “Oh no, you can’t go back there”, you have some caseworker’s there to pick you up and you have to go to the agency. They have completely packed up all your things in trash bags. You don’t know what they left, what they missed, or what they decided to disregard or discard, and that in itself was very demeaning. You lose your sense of autonomy. You feel like you don’t have any control over your life.”
GLENDA (27, Kentucky) – “I know what’s best for me, even if my age says that I don’t. And so really just implementing youth feedback, both post-system and pre-system is really important.”
In May, 2023, iFoster released the “2023 Lived Experience Guide to Fixing Foster Care”. This guide raises the voices of over 6,000 Youth, Caregivers and Frontline Workers, all with lived experience from across all 50 states, who have actionable recommendations to improve the foster care system. The 2023 Lived Experience Guide to Fixing Foster Care can be found at www.voiceoffostercare.org, along with both Year 1 (2022), and Year 2 (2023) of the Voice of the Foster Care Community surveys, from which the guide is based. The Voice of the Foster Care Community surveys are conducted by C.A.R.E. Consulting Group, funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.
iFoster would like to thank On Point and Meghna Chakrabarti for covering this critical topic and raising the voices of those with lived experience to improve the child welfare system.
iFoster is a 501c3 national non-profit with the largest and most inclusive online community of youth, caregivers, and organizations in foster care; with over 70,000 members in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Guam. iFoster’s mission is to ensure that every child growing up outside their biological home has the resources and opportunities they need to become successful. Through its members, iFoster supports over 150,000 children and youth in foster care and aging out every year, connecting them to over $195 Million in resources and supportive services.
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