Child Welfare Ideas From the Experts, #2: Empowering and Comforting New Foster Youths

The Chronicle of Social Change is highlighting each of the policy recommendations made this summer by the participants of the Foster Youth Internship Program (FYI), a group of 11 former foster youths who completed Congressional internships. The program is overseen each summer by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, with support from the Sara Start Fund.

Each of the FYI participants crafted a carefully researched policy recommendation during their time in Washington. Today, we highlight the recommendations made by Kellie Henderson, 23, a former foster youth from Phillipsburg, Kan., who this year earned her Master’s degree in social work at the University of Kansas.

The Proposal

Each state should be required to develop a “Comfort and Inform Curriculum” designed to prepare youths for the foster care system. The curriculum should empower the youth by explaining the specific rights he or she has as a foster youth, and also detail the role of each professional they are likely to come into contact with.

Youths should begin on this curriculum before their first dependency court hearing.

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