#FosterTruth: Harsh Realities of Abused and Neglected Children Come to Light

Children’s Rights Pursues 1 Million Social Media Views with 3rd Annual Fostering the Future Campaign

(New York, N.Y.) – On May 1, in recognition of National Foster Care Month, non-profit organization Children’s Rights will launch its third annual Fostering the Future campaign to amplify the voices of those affected by state care. Each day of May, Children’s Rights will publish a blog post written by someone involved in child welfare, such as a former foster youth, foster parent or child advocate.

The first-person accounts – by bloggers hailing from every region in the United States – expose a system that remains a mystery to most, despite the staggering statistics it produces. More than 640,000 children spend time in U.S. foster care every year. About 13,000 of the nearly 102,000 foster kids available for adoption have been waiting for five years or longer to join permanent families. At any given time, about 23,000 kids live in group homes and more than 32,000 live in institutions. And at least 27 states do not meet the federal standard for keeping children safe from abuse and neglect in care.

“Young people in foster care have very little control over some of the most fundamental aspects of their lives. Many feel unloved and invisible to the world,” said Sandy Santana, interim executive director of Children’s Rights. “By sharing their highly-personal stories, we are shining a light on their journeys. We are telling all kids in foster care, ‘You matter. You are not forgotten. And we will continue to fight for state care to be the safe haven you deserve.’”

Last year, the bloggers’ poignant stories exposed hundreds of thousands of people to the realities of foster care via www.fosteringthefuture.com and social media. The campaign’s posts were viewed 900,000 times; this year, using the hashtag #FosterTruth, Children’s Rights has a goal of 1 million social media views.

While some participants write about positive foster care experiences, others reveal the challenges, and horrors, of state care:

•“I really lost all hope when I was raped and sodomized in a home that was supposed to be safe. I was only 8, and I felt like I had been completely stripped of what was most precious to me,” writes Crystal.

•“I remember clenching my left fist and holding a small black bag with my personal belongings in my right hand as I walked to my caseworker’s car on a cold, windy evening. The whole ride to my new home left me nauseated and frightened,” writes Diego.

•“I was overwhelmed by constant stereotyping, not seeing my family, psychological evaluations and heavy medication. I was angry – I didn’t ask to be in foster care and I surely didn’t choose this life,” writes David.

Other bloggers recount the benefits of foster care, and the people who helped them along the way. “My foster parents were kind, consistent and caring,” Kim writes. Another blogger, Georgette, remembers her final foster mother, Judith, who “taught me how to apply and interview for a job, open a bank account, save money and drive a car. She acted like any regular parent would with their child. She made me feel normal.”

“All children deserve to be safe and feel supported, no matter where they live. We hope people will be touched by these personal accounts, and share them with friends and family to help raise critical awareness around what life in foster care can be like for kids right here in the United States,” Santana said.

Throughout May, the blogs and accompanying photos will be featured on the campaign website (www.fosteringthefuture.com) and promoted through the Children’s Rights Facebook page, Twitter account (@childrensrights) and main website.