Week Two’s theme of IMperfect Attendance rolls on today with Elijah’s account of the struggles he faced after aging out and being on his own for the first time. Learn about the tough lessons he learned and how he got his bachelor’s degree in 2015.
I was put in a group home in a different county, and I had to start a new school. My caseworker told me that education was not her priority at the time … For six months I was at this group home, then another group home for about nine months. And it did affect my education–my teachers could tell you I was a great student, [but] the instability in my life meant poor grades and poor attendance on my transcript.
Meet foster alum Shay and hear her story about 45 placements, over 23 different schools and tons of numbing medications that all negatively impacted her ability to learn. Shay’s now earning her degree at Mills College in California.
“Getting an education is no joke.” Comedian and former foster youth Monroe Martin cracks us up and opens our eyes in this clip about getting an education in state care. Get schooled all month with more from Monroe and foster care alumni across the nation as they discuss the barriers and supports they faced as they worked toward their degrees.
“Education is the great equalizer.” Meet Whitney, a high school graduate and a foster alum with one of the most uplifting stories about how her foster parents and her school gave her the discipline and structure to pursue and achieve anything she wanted.
I went to 12 different schools growing up, including 4 different high schools. I did graduate high school though and immediately enrolled in a trade school to become a LPN – a Licensed Practical Nurse. Three weeks into attending trade school, I aged out of foster care and lost my housing. I became homeless at 18. At that point, just surviving day to day took priority over my education. I didn’t have a choice but to drop out. I’m part of that 96% of foster alumni who don’t get a college degree. Luckily, when I was 19, a great opportunity came my way to work for an organization called FosterClub. It’s an amazing organization that helps effect change for future generations of foster youth. If you had asked me when I was young what I would be doing as an adult, being a Foster Youth Advocate was NOT my aspiration. I wanted to run away from that life and never look back. But I am who I am. I can’t hide from it. I’ll always be a foster kid.
Today is a truly sad day for millions of vulnerable children and the advocates who fight for them, but sadness must quickly yield to action and Children’s Rights is ready to act. By a 217-213 vote, the House of Representatives approved a bill that would slash approximately $840 billion from the Medicaid budget and likely […]
Demontea Thompson contributed his “We Made It” poem to Children’s Rights’ #FosterMyEducation campaign. Demontea is a graduate student at the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education. He is an emancipated foster youth who advocates for the foster youth community in the Los Angeles area. In addition to his academic pursuits and advocacy work, Demontea is an accomplished poet who has performed his spoken word at campuses across the country.
When I look back at my education – and the fact that I failed my high school graduation exam four times – I know that context matters. Spending high school in two different children’s homes followed by two different foster homes matters.
They say that kids who grow up in foster care are diagnosed with PTSD at twice the rate of US war veterans –soldiers who are on the ground in man-to-man combat. I can testify to that. Foster youth go through so much early childhood trauma. That was my situation. When I went into foster care, I was removed from my biological parents and siblings. I never saw them again (my parents have since passed away and my siblings were adopted out and I haven’t been able to locate them). The trauma of losing my family and the anxiety that comes with never feeling “normal” led to me to being put on a lot of medications while in high school… medications that not only didn’t mix well but made it nearly impossible for me to focus in school.
Not being able to focus REALLY stressed me out and just compounded my anxiety. Just knowing I had a test coming up would trigger an anxiety attack, because I knew that no matter how hard I studied, I would do poorly. I couldn’t retain anything. My brain was in a constant fog. And then there was the state high school graduation exam. It loomed over me and haunted me. Prior to the medications, I was a B student. I remember asking my social worker, whom I saw once per month, to help me secure a tutor. I guess a tutor wasn’t doable, but she did give me a computer… which, while incredibly kind and generous of her, didn’t quite help me.
Fostering the Future is turning five this month and May of course is also National Foster Care Awareness Month! With that in mind, this year’s Fostering the Future has taken aim at a critical issue for the 670,000 youth that spend time in state care every year: education. For many, simply earning a high school diploma can be one of the greatest challenges of their young lives. Children’s Rights and foster care alumni across the country are “schooling” the nation this month on the challenges youth in care face while simply trying to GRADUATE high school! Watch our Stability video and join Children’s Rights in the fight for delivering the educational opportunities youth in foster care deserve.