“We’re not saying that once you hit 24 we’re done working with you, your expertise was great, thank you for that, keep it moving. What we’re saying is you are getting like fine wine: you are aging with wisdom, and you can bring back—after you’ve done the journey of healing—and bring more lens to it.”
—April Curtis-Rivera, cofounder and board chair, Foster Care Alumni of America
Many child welfare agencies engage youth and adults who have experience with the child welfare system as advocates to share their stories or participate in policy and program development. Developing or reviewing policies or programs through the lens of experience can help improve child welfare practice by recognizing trauma, providing more family-centered services, or increasing the likelihood of successful transition to adulthood.
Successfully engaging foster care alumni requires more than asking youth to share their personal experiences with an audience. This episode, “Foster Care Alumni – Making Lived Experience Matter, Part 1,” shares perspectives, personal stories, and guidance from members and former members of Foster Care Alumni of America to help agencies understand the value of alumni of all ages, provide information on how to look for and find the right alumni partners, and discuss the impact sharing has on alumni, especially alumni who work as child welfare professionals.
The following individuals are featured in this episode:
- April Curtis-Rivera, cofounder and board chair, Foster Care Alumni of America
- Latasha Pearson, former member, Foster Care Alumni of America National Foster Youth & Alumni Policy Council
- Victor Sims, former member, Foster Care Alumni of America National Foster Youth & Alumni Policy Council
Topics discussed include the following:
- Effectively shaping Federal foster care policy
- What agencies should screen for when looking for effective alumni partners
- How alumni can separate their roles of professional caseworker and advocate or “storyteller”