YouthSpeak: What’s one FACT you would like the PUBLIC to know about foster care?

We asked California Scholars:  “May is National Foster Care Month! What’s one FACT you would like the PUBLIC to know about foster care? Or – is there a foster care MYTH you would like to dispel?”

“We are not just another statistic we are just like everyone else. We can achieve great things in life if we are just given the opportunity to thrive to greatness.”
— Brianna Roberts, California State University, San Bernardino

“California accounts for half of the nation’s foster youth.”
— Allyson Bendell, Sierra College

“My biology professor used an example in genetics including a foster youth. The foster youth became “a runaway” and used drugs to “cope” with becoming a street sex worker in order to pay for her living expenses. She was given up for adoption because there was a “no children” clause in her parent’s prenuptial agreement. Foster youth are not society’s throw aways. Foster youth are productive members of society and their disproportionate representation under such dehumanizing stereotypes is the result of ignorance more than it is the manifestation of truths. We deserve for our strong narratives to be told.”
— Saraí J. Santamaría, Irvine Valley College

“Foster youth alumni are NOT all part of the statistics! We are strong and brilliant!”
— Lidia Bernal, Los Angeles City College

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Five Ideas from the young leaders of FosterClub about how you can help dispel the stereotypes and myths about foster care and young people who experience it:

  1. Celebrate the accomplishments of resilient young people from foster care. Work on highlighting the resilient aspects of the young people you know who have experienced care. Many foster youth are tremendously tenacious, determined, and have enough grit to carry them far.
  2. Convert mistaken individuals to allies. When people portray foster youth in a negative light, take the opportunity to turn them into an ally of foster youth. Use gentle correction to provide them with information to help reshape their thinking.
  3. Raise awareness during foster care month. Learn how you can participate in raising awareness in your own community. Visit www.FosterMore.org and www.childwelfare.gov/fostercaremonth/ for more information.
  4. Elevate positive stories. If you work with an amazing young person, look for ways to tell their positive story (always with permission from the youth, of course). Consider submitting a story to a local newspaper, University newsletter, or the youth’s employer.
  5. Complain when media gets it wrong. It’s not unusual to see mainstream television portray a foster youth as the bad guy or victim in a plotline. Blog, Tweet, Facebook or email to the media outlet when you see them use this all-too-common portrayal perpetuates the stereotypes.

CONNECT YOUR YOUTH! For more information about how to connect young people with our California Scholars network, please contact Rusty Johnson at rusty@fosterclub.com or call (714) 619-8418.