David Inglish (2013 FosterClub All-Star and 2014 Level 2 All-Star) and Timothy Bell (FosterClub Director of Policy) participated in the International Youth Summit in Seattle. They joined foster almni from both the US and Japan. The International Foster Care Alliance (IFCA) aims to include the youth voice in all conversations involving child welfare policy and practice.
When David Inglish was first displaced from his biological family and put into foster care, he asked the police officer who was taking him to the social welfare office, “What happened? What’s wrong?” The officer responded, “Don’t worry about it.”
Inglish asked the same question to his case worker, who gave him the same answer. Not until Inglish talked with his foster parents did he hear that his biological family was unstable, but it took him years to realize how true that statement was. “I felt that I should’ve been given the right as a human being to know exactly what is going on in terms that I understand,” Inglish said during the recent International Youth Summit at the University of Washington.
In the United States and Japan, the voices of foster care youth are often left out of the conversation about their needs. Timothy Bell, IFCA Youth Programs director who himself aged out of the U.S. foster care system at 18 years old, argued that involving foster youth in every single stage of the process leads to better results. Their involvement, Bell said, “keeps the system honest, true to original policy and purpose, better informed and better able to get things done quickly.”