“Hear Our Voices” letter writing campaign - week 17
July 3, 2019
Over 100 letters have been collected by project Foster Power to create the “Hear Our Voices” letter display and educate professionals and others with decision-making power about the importance of foster youth voice.
To help amplify youth voice, project Foster Power is partnering with the CO4Kids campaign and CDHS to post one letter a week on the CO4Kids Campaign child welfare blog through the end of May - Foster Care Awareness Month.
This week's letter reads:
One person who made me feel heard was my caseworker. She advocated for me since day one. It made me feel like I had a mother I’ve always wanted to have and I still feel this way five years later. It made me feel good because I felt more than alone even though I was in kinship care. I was placed with family members I hardly even knew but they did not treat me as if I was apart of the family at all. Their own kids were top priority. If my brother and I needed anything a guardian is supposed to provide, we had to find a way to get it ourselves. They could have listened better by realizing we have had it hard enough and gave us a break from all of the trouble we had faced, but instead, they only made it harder. We had to grow up very quickly, when we should have been able to enjoy the last few years of our childhood. It’s important to be heard because most of us are alone in this journey. We don’t have parents guidance and support so I truly felt lost and I still do even though I have aged out. Being heard is important because everybody matters and these people do exist even though the community goes unnoticed.
From, A Young Person Who Matters
Ways to support youth voice
Spread the word about our Foster Youth Rights document - created by and for youth – taking Colorado statutes/rules and translating them into youth-friendly language. Distribute these far and wide!!
Follow the best practice recommendations developed by our members to instruct professionals on how to talk with youth about these rights. Feel free to share with colleagues. Invite our youth to train your organizations directly on this work!
Invite project Foster Power to train the youth you serve directly on their rights! Youth rights are only effective if young people know about them! We have been taking our Youth Rights training on the road and recently worked with youth in Adams and Jefferson counties. Usually, these youth trainings are about an hour. Let us know if there may be opportunities to meet with youth in your community.
Display "Hear Our Voices" letters in at your office! These letters have been displayed at public libraries, coffee shops, CASA offices, child welfare training centers, and counties offices. If your organization would like to host the “Hear Our Voices” letter display at your organization or want to learn more about the work of project Foster Power, please email email@example.com.
About the author:
Betsy Fordyce, Esq. is the director of the youth empowerment and legal advocacy program at the Rocky Mountain Children's Law Center, a CO4Kids Campaign Partner. In addition to her work in child welfare policy, she supports a youth-led, peer-driven, grassroots group of current and former foster youth who are seeking to improve the foster care system through youth organizing, advocacy, education and leadership development.
Over 100 letters have been collected by project Foster Power to create the “Hear Our Voices” letter display and educate professionals and others with decision-making power about the importance of foster youth voice. Read the #COHearOurVoices series of letters, selected by project Foster Power, to be highlighted for professionals and others with decision-making power beginning next week!