For the last blog we have been asked to give some advice to a youth in foster care going through a rough time. I think that this is really important because it is easy to feel like you are going through this alone especially if you haven’t met anyone else in foster care.
The first thing that I would say is no matter what happens, keep going! Being in foster care is just a small portion of the big amazing thing that is your life. As I navigated my way through the system I wish that I knew about the different resources that were available to me earlier, including the bill of rights. These are fairly new to me even though I have been in care for a while. They can help with a variety of problems including making sure that siblings stay connected, to receive information about your placement / continual care, and that you be placed in the least restrictive placement as possible.
http://dss.mo.gov/cd/chafee/wiaa-out-of-home-care-guide.pdf This link goes to a packet that should be given to every youth in Missouri when they enter care. It has lots of helpful information for all ages about what foster care is and what is happening when you enter care.
I also wish that I would have known about my youth advisory board. It is comprised of youth from Missouri that have been adopted or legal guardianship after the age of 16, or are currently in care and 14 years or older. http://dss.mo.gov/cd/chafee/syab/ (link is external) On this board we review things that are proposed or are being implemented that affect youth in Missouri. A lot of important people also come to these meetings to get youths different opinions on how things in care are working, and how they can improve them. We also plan and run a biannual conference in Jefferson City that invites all Chaffee youth that are 14 or older to participate. This includes different workshops and speeches that can help motivate and teach you a lot about foster care.
For additional resources; foster club's website is always useful. https://www.fosterclub.com/