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19 December 2019

December 2019 Newsletter

“…we young people are unstoppable.”

– Greta Thunberg
Activist, organizer, and TIME’s Person of the Year

Message from the Executive Director:

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who participated in our Giving Tuesday campaign. With your help, we were able to raise enough money to send an additional youth to the 2020 Congressional Shadow Day!

In fact, your support during the past year has allowed us to truly foster change in the lives of current and former foster youth and their families. Here are a few highlights from 2019:

*Our staff grew — by a lot! You can learn more about the professionals who are developing our programs, policies, and more here.

*We took 120 current and former foster youth to Washington, DC for the annual Congressional Shadow Day. They spent a week developing their advocacy skills and shadowing Members of Congress and legislative staffers. You can watch a recap of the program right here.

*Fourteen people who previously participated in Shadow Day received in-depth training on facilitating workshops and the Shadow Day curriculum our programs staff developed. After months of preparation — including a training retreat — they executed all of our Shadow Day workshops in DC.

*Twelve delegates participated in Michigan Shadow Day in Lansing, where they spoke with state legislators about creating a caucus on foster youth.

*Four new former foster youth joined our LA team for a paid organizing internship.

*Our LA and Michigan chapters expanded their work and we began the process of launching two new chapters (New Jersey and DC area), which are currently in the start-up phase.

*We hosted Congressional dinners and policy calls throughout the year that kept youth, advocates, and lawmakers informed about the latest child welfare policies.

*We opened a second office in Washington, DC.

All of this and more were made possible by generous donors and by funders who believe in foster youth voices and in our work. We have so much more to do and big plans for 2020 that we’ll be telling you about in the coming weeks.

I hope that we can count on you to make one final contribution before the end of the year. Your support now will ensure that we continue to have an impact in 2020 and beyond.

Thanks for everything,
Sally

Fostering Youth-Led Change

The dates for the 2020 Congressional Shadow Day have been locked in and our deadline for applying to the program is quickly approaching! We’ll be in Washington, DC June 6 – 12, 2020. Current and former foster youth between 18 and 30 are encouraged to apply to become advocates for changing the child welfare system. Click here to get started on the application, which is due December 31, 2019!

Fostering a Warm Holiday Season

For people across the country, the holidays can bring mixed feelings. Joy, anxiety, hopefulness, and loneliness are common, but current and former foster youth may experience unique challenges. We’ve put together a few suggestions that we hope make your season a little smoother.

Our friends at FosterClub have created 10 tips on navigating the season for foster youth.

If you are a foster parent or guardian, here are some ideas for making the youth in your life feel comfortable.

Current and former foster youth who are in college often have a special set of circumstances, including figuring out where to go when campuses close for winter break and answering questions from fellow students about their plans. Here’s how schools can support them.

Fostering Federal Change

This week our DC staff hosted Members of Congress for a quarterly Congressional Dinner, this time on re-homing. Each year, adopted children in the US are re-homed and placed with another family after their first adoption doesn’t work out. Alarmingly, those second families are sometimes found on Craigslist, Facebook, and online forums with no oversight, background checks, or authorities to check on the welfare of the child. At the dinner, attendees like Reps. Don Bacon, Karen Bass, Jim Langevin, Richard Neal, and Bobby Scott heard from adoption and legal experts on the types of policies that would help protect children and reduce the number of failed adoptions. After hearing from the panelists, an in-depth conversation was cultivated between rehoming experts in attendance and the Members of Congress.

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