Members of the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth support the Recognition of Foster Youth Voice to Inform Policy
WASHINGTON, May 16, 2022 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — The Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth (CCFY), National Foster Youth Institute (NFYI) and iFoster are partnering to amplify the voices of children and youth in foster care at a public exhibition and recognition to be held May 17, 2022 at 11:30 on the National Mall, between 4th and 7th streets, in Washington, DC.
The backdrop for the event is a mural celebrating the foster care community created by world-renowned Getty street artist (and former foster youth) ENKONE, generously commissioned for iFoster by the James Irvine Foundation. ENKONE’s mural will be jo
ined by drawings created by children and youth in the foster care system from across the country expressing their visions of a supportive foster care community.
A making of the ENKONE’s mural can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36C2Vgx4lBc.
Congress established May as National Foster Care Month as an opportunity to raise awareness about the challenges of children in the foster care system, and for advocates to encourage Congress to implement policies to improve the lives of these children. As of September 30, 2020, there were 407,493 children in foster care in the U.S.
Members of the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth are joining with NFYI and iFoster to recognize that the lived experiences and opinions of youth are crucial inputs to policies that improve their lives and the child welfare system. CCFY provides a bipartisan forum joining over 100 Members of Congress to discuss and develop policy recommendations to strengthen the child welfare system and improve the overall well-being of youth and families.
“The work we do at the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth is vital to creating change within the lives of youth with lived experience. Most importantly, we believe it is necessary to invite the youth we serve to meet Members of Congress face-to-face at the table where decisions are being made for their own wellbeing,” said Cortez L. Carey, Director of Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth. “This beautifully thought provoking ENKONE mural is an unyielding visual of youth lifting as they climb. We perceive it to represent people helping each other, whether they have firsthand understanding or are an ally of this formation of growth. As an advocate for rehabilitation of the child welfare system, I would like to acknowledge iFoster and NFYI for their continuous achievements of highlighting youth with lived experience as #BeyondResilient and recognizing and trusting them for who they believe they are.”
“Children and youth with lived experience, their caregivers and front-line workers need to be heard,” said Serita Cox, CEO of iFoster. “They live within the foster care system every day and know first-hand what is working, and what needs to be improved. Through our annual survey Voice of the Foster Care Community, the entire spectrum of those with lived experience (youth, caregivers and front-line workers) are sharing their experiences and thoughts on how to help every child in the foster care system achieve their full potential.”
“Art is a powerful tool for advocacy; it is the most potent, visceral way for advocates with first-hand experience to bring to life their child welfare journey. Foster youth sharing their lives with decision makers is key for effective and essential policy and practice reform. That is why foster youth must have a seat at the table every time child welfare policy is discussed – only then can we truly transform the systems that impact children and families,” said Rebecca Louve Yao, Executive Director of NFYI. “This is why NFYI hosts artmaking events for former foster youth, It’s why artwork from our #BeyondResilient campaign has swept from social media to the halls of Congress, and it is why we stand here today in support of this groundbreaking monument to foster youth.”
About the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth
The Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth provides a forum for Members of Congress to discuss and develop policy recommendations to strengthen the child welfare system and improve the overall well-being of youth and families. Co-chaired by Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE), and Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI), the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth joins over 100 Members of Congress discuss the challenges facing all foster youth and develop bipartisan policy initiatives.
About National Foster Youth Institute
Launched in 2012, National Foster Youth Institute was created to organize foster youth and families, foster care alumni, and allies across the country to mobilize around transforming the child welfare system. Over the past decade, NFYI has elevated the voices of thousands of current and former foster youth resulting in transformative change within the child welfare system, a culture shift among decision makers, and the development of professional and organizing skills among these young leaders.
iFoster is a 501c3 national nonprofit with the largest and most inclusive online community of young people, caregivers, and organizations in foster care, with over 70,000 members in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Guam. iFoster’s mission is to ensure that every child growing up outside of their biological home has the resources and opportunities they need to become successful. Through its membership and network of partners, iFoster provides over $150 Million in resources annually to over 125,000 children and youth in foster care and those aging out. The Voice of The Foster Care Community Report can be found at http://www.VoiceofFosterCare.org.
Reid Cox, iFoster, 1 5305509672, [email protected]