JLSD Advocacy Committee holds successful community impact forum addressing the needs and challenges of transition-age foster youth. From legislation to community involvement – the advocacy committee is hitting the ground running for foster youth.
By: Maggie Sayre
Junior Delegate, State Public Affairs Committee (SPAC)
Advocacy Committee Member
Diving in to our focus area early in the league year! The advocacy committee held an informative and motivating community impact forum urging people to get involved in helping transition-age foster youth. Our committee is working hard with community leaders to help change the dynamic of the foster youth stigma. We want to have positive stories that motivate community involvement and encourage support at all levels. This forum was a great start in achieving that goal.
The event was comprised of a welcome message by our JLSD President, Alison Bushan, a screening of the documentary ‘Aging Out – Case Closed’ following the life of a youth aging out of the foster system in New York, followed by four panelists speaking to the audience and participating in a Q&A session. Melanie Delgado (Children’s Advocacy Institute), Daphnie Phung (Californians against Slavery Research and Education), Cailin Freeman (VOICES For Children) and Noreen Harmelink (San Diego County Foster Youth Mentor Program).
The takeaway: there is a way that every single one of us can be directly involved in this issue! Whether it is writing your legislators, mentoring a foster youth, becoming a CASA (court appointed special advocate), supporting a family who fosters or looking into fostering a youth yourself – there is a level for everyone to engage. We need to focus on the “F” word. FAMILY. All of these youth deserve one, and we can help redefine what that word means.
Keep on the lookout for future advocacy events and trainings, and if you have any questions on what you can be doing, don’t hesitate to reach out to the advocacy committee or State Public Affairs Committee Delegates (SPAC). We will be holding a ‘Libations and Legislation’ training and will be active and out in the community for Human Trafficking Awareness Month (January) – stay tuned!