8 Things All Kids in Foster Care Want People to Know

Every year during National Foster month, the president issues an annual proclamation praising the contributions of the child welfare professionals, and foster parents looking after the 400,000 children who are in the US foster care system.

No doubt some of these adults are pretty awesome, but for me, the real heroes are the brave young people who pack up their whole world in a trash bag to go and live with people who are in most cases, complete strangers.

They are placed in foster families, institutions or group homes. More than a quarter of all foster care placements are in kinship placements, where a child is placed with relatives.

I had the privilege of working with children in foster care for over three years. I was involved with a committee consisting of children in foster care and former foster youth transitioning out the system. These incredibly insightful and astute young people, were advocates for foster care rights and reform.

I heard how their voices were often given the least value or weight when important decisions about their life were being made, and how frequently their input was entirely bypassed. They spoke of feeling like extraneous cogs in a big wheel that went on around them. Some hid the fact they were in foster care for as long as they could from their peers, because people treated them differently once they knew they were “foster kids.”

Despite all the academic and professional training I had, I learned the most about children in foster care through those young people

Here are eight things I learned that young people in foster care really want you to know:

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