“Hear Our Voices” letter writing campaign - week 16

June 21, 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:

Dear Adult,

During my care there were multiple people in my lives that would listen and I did feel like my voice was heard. This made me feel that my voice mattered and I felt like that I had a say about where my life was going and my siblings. My foster parents were great (and still are although I’m not in their care anymore). They would listen to my concerns and we would even troubleshoot together. During my time in foster care, I had two different social workers, both of which agreed with me when I or my siblings faced any problems and gave it their best effort to solve the issues. There were times that I needed a reminder that it’s not them that makes the decisions, but it’s someone much higher up than them. I also was able to talk to my Chafee worker about problems I was having and whatever my social worker couldn’t help with she could.

It’s important to be heard because your voice and everybodies voice matters, no matter who you are you need someone there to listen. I know that my voice is powerful and worth being heard because it can make a change. Don’t be afraid to speak up. What’s the worst they can say? That they don’t agree with you? In the end at least you were heard and you fought to be heard and fought for a change. Being heard makes you feel empowered through these things and especially if you voice did make a difference.

The advice that I have for adults who want to listen is to find the time in the day to do so and to make sure they feel heard and do what you can to help them with their problems or to at least compromise.

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 projectfosterpower@childlawcenter.org.

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! 

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