foster care

These Women Opened Up About Their Foster Care Experiences As Kids

foster care

Being a child in foster care is harder than most people can even imagine: This is why it was so amazing and necessary that a group of women sat together with a room of social workers and former foster kids at at University of Penn Law School to debut videographer Yasmin Mistry’s documentary “Foster Care Film.”

The documentary is comprised of short videos of women who were in foster care as kids. They opened up about their experiences, and while it can be hard to hear, we need to in order to create positive change for the kids in foster care now. For instance, Charell Star, the New York-based owner of lifestyle website Not Just A Girl In A Dress and foster care advocate, spoke of her own experience:

“Some homes were OK, but many were not. I did experience abuse, but was always able to maintain the hope that I would get to go live with my great-grandmother when she got better. That hope — coupled with the fact that I always loved school — helped me not internalize everything I was going through.”

Marissa Meyers, a development manager for the non-profit Public Health Management Corporation, also a former foster child, said:

“My dad was addicted to heroin and sold drugs and my mother suffers from mental health issues. I was in the child welfare system from the time I was a toddler up until I was 16. I never had a real foster family and was shuffled around to group homes and residential programs.”

I spent the first half of my life learning how to numb to the pain and I am now trying to teach myself how to ‘feel.’ I tell my story as if it happened to someone else because that was how I coped with my trauma.”

Constance Krebs Iannetta, now on the board of directors for Foster Care Alumni of America, also said:

“I entered foster care at 11— a tough age for one that has experienced trauma and separation. I spent the next few years in group homes and with foster families. Though my placements were generally good, I was always challenging the rules set forth by the agency — 9 p.m. prom curfew, not allowed to get a drivers permit/license, background checks needed for overnight stays at a friends house. I wanted to be a ‘normal’ kid.”

Their stories are brave and honest and all too common. According to Children’s Rights, “on any given day, there are nearly 428,000 children in foster care in the United States. In 2015, over 670,000children spent time in U.S. foster care. On average, children remain in state care for nearly two years and six percent of children in foster care have languished there for five or more years.”

This means that problems with foster care–and not being able to place children in permanent homes soon enough–is a problem we need to be thinking about, because kids deserve better.

Watch the preview here:

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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