Foster Care “Stigma” Is Felt by Youth, Perpetuated by Professionals

“My teacher called me the ‘F’ word,” one former foster youth mumbled during a “Pain to Power” meeting held by the RightWay Foundation. Twelve transition-aged youth sat around a table that filled the room.  At first everyone looked confused, trying to figure out which of the many ‘F’ words the teacher could have thrown at him.

“Foster child,” he finally said, his head bent down. You couldn’t see his tears, but you could hear his heart break. He was on the football team, none of his friends knew he was in foster care, and his teacher “outed” him. He was embarrassed and humiliated. The class exploded in fury. One of the girls turned to him, her voice filled with outrage and asked him to hold on to the strength that he had, that he was worthwhile and more than just a foster child, even though that’s the label the world might give him.

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