on foster care issues:

[Guest Blog] Making Time to Show Kindness

| April 15th, 2015

One Step at a Time“Now!” “Mine!” “No!”

These are three lovely words that I hear frequently as the mom of a 4 year old and a 1.5 year old. Let’s face it: Kids are selfish, and the truth is, we all are. Attempting to fight this selfishness, I resolved to serve more with my kids, and this resolution has led me to start an organization called The Family Service Club.

Our mission is to provide ideas, resources, and community to empower families to serve together. My personal goal is to do at least one service-related activity per month. We brought brownies to firefighters, valentines to retirement homes, and Easter baskets to cancer patients.

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National Alliance to End Homelessness Releases “The State of Homelessness in America 2015″ Report

| April 10th, 2015

sad young woman with knitted hatThe National Alliance to End Homelessness recently released a report, which found that on any given night in January 2014, 578,424 people experienced homelessness. This, the report explains, means people who were sleeping outside, in an emergency shelter or in a transitional housing program.

The State of Homelessness in America 2015” also revealed that unaccompanied youth and children accounted for 7.8 percent—or 45,205 youth—of the total number of homeless Americans last year.

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New Mexico Wins in Foster Youth’s Medicaid Coverage

| April 8th, 2015

New Mexico, along with 13 other states, has made an enormous leap for providing Medicaid coverage for foster youth.

Governor Susana Martinez signed legislation requiring the state to provide Medicaid coverage to former foster children up to age 26, no matter what state they resided in when they aged out of foster care.

Why is this considered a win?

Since the passing of the Affordable Care Act in January 2014, foster youth are eligible to remain under health care (much like other young people that are able to remain on their parent’s health insurance) until 26. However, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued language to clarify how states should implement the new legislation, which stated foster youth are only eligible for Medicaid coverage in the same state in which he or she aged out of foster care at 18 and enrolled in Medicaid.

What does this mean?

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Passion: The Heart of a True Gentleman

| April 8th, 2015

DSC_8813Three years ago Tremale Berger stood confidently in front of a crowd. He looked out at the gathering of around 40 young men, certain his eloquently prepared speech would compel the youth to action.

A sea of wide, expecting eyes rested on Tremale, and as he scanned the room and looked into the eyes of each and every young man there, suddenly his confidence shifted. Tremale could see the needs and desires anxiously pleading through each youth’s gaze, and in that moment, he knew that whatever he said next would leave a lasting impact on the young men.

“I told them that we’re here to help you do what you want,” Tremale said. “The foundation of our program is us helping the young men discover and do what they want, not us telling them what they should want and do. We focus on what their interests are.”

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April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

| April 7th, 2015

Cute little girl holding pinwheel at parkOur work at Foster Care to Success is so intrinsically tied this issue, as some people fail to realize: children in the foster care system are not bad kids, rather they’ve had bad things happen to them.

Every year, about 3 million cases of child abuse are reported in the United States, most of which are placed in the foster care system. While the statistics are grave, our society continually strives to build a safer and more equitable home for communities, families and most importantly children.

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What’s the Latest News in Foster Care Legislation?

| March 31st, 2015

Hot off the pressFrom national headlines to local news, the foster care field is a hot topic. All across the nation child welfare advocates continue working tirelessly to improve the experiences of youth in and out of foster care.

Want to learn about the latest news in foster care legislation? Check out some of the most recent proposed laws on behalf of foster youth:

Giving Credit where it’s Due

No matter their duration in foster care, youth need adequate, appropriate, caring support—and U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp is working to ensure more families can offer this care.

On March 5, 2015, Heitkamp reintroduced the Foster Care Tax Credit Act, which would ensure families who care for children for shorter periods of time are eligible for tax credits.

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Aim Higher Alum Creates Change at Her University

| March 31st, 2015

Bette Maisel14Bette Maisel is a 2014 Aim Higher Fellow attending Notre Dame de Namur University. As a senior at NDNU, Maisel is leveraging her Aim Higher experience to design a program to support other foster youth attending her university.

“The program will create healthier experiences for students transitioning from high school to college. We want to help find for these students the essentials they need for living on campus but most importantly offer them support from people who can understand and point them in the right direction,” said Taylor Dewees, a former foster youth and Maisel’s partner in developing this foster youth program.

Maisel attended Aim Higher’s two-week intensive program in Washington D.C. last summer and developed communication skills to publicly speak to the foster care community; she now hopes to give back to foster youth similar to her in order to support their postsecondary needs.

“I hope that the foster youth at NDNU will feel supported. I hope that it will lay the foundation for their future careers and they’ll have year-round housing, and consider this place a home,” said Maisel.

Foster Care to Success encourages our students and Aim Higher Fellows to not only dream big, but to execute the visions they believe will transform challenges into solutions. Maisel currently has 11 students in the foster program at NDNU, she and her team hope to reach other students in similar situations in order to scale the impact they imagine.

Best wishes Bette! Keep up the amazing work, and always Aim Higher!

 

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6 Ways to Search for a Summer Internship

| March 31st, 2015

Business man pointing the text: InternshipThe end of spring break means summer is right around the corner! As you make plans for how and where to spend those upcoming summer months, why not consider putting yourself one step ahead of the competition and apply for an internship?

Interning boosts your resume and makes you stand out from the crowd because employers look for extracurricular activities on top of your degree. Working at an internship will also help you develop the skills employers look for, including communication, teamwork, and problem-solving, making you a strong candidate for today’s competitive job market.

Don’t know where to begin your internship search? Check out the following tips on ways to find a summer internship:

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Is Temping Right For You?

| March 26th, 2015

tempingIs graduation looming? Are you unsure of where you want to work or what you want to do? What if you could work on short term assignments to better understand what you like or don’t like?

You can.

It’s called temping.

So, what is temping?

                          photo by: Fotolia

Temping is exactly how it sounds: temporarily working in a position for a finite period of time. Usually, businesses will hire temps to fill in for employees on leave or if the position is in transition.

When you work as a temp, you work for the agency and they call you in when there is a need at an appropriate organization.  There are many kinds of staffing agencies; some are general, some specialize in certain jobs, like accounting, management or computer technology.  Expect to be interviewed the same as for any job, and you may have to take tests to measure your skills.

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“Lost Childhoods,” First-of-its-Kind and Largest Collection of Foster Youth Memorabilia

| March 19th, 2015

museum-246222_1280Life is a series of moments and memories, sometimes captured in photos or memorabilia that tell stories of tragedy and triumph. Regardless of the theme, stories can help us heal, inspire us to grow, and define our purpose.

Foster youth have a myriad of stories that shed light and awareness on our current system; for the first time these stories are being highlighted in an art exhibit to display a spectrum from discovering love in an intentional, diverse and compassionate family to enduring challenges that can move us to tears.

Lost Childhoods is an art exhibit displaying 50 artifacts, art and videos from former foster youth; currently it is on display in Oakland, California. It is the largest collection of foster youth memorabilia and first exhibition of its kind; “a testament to the resilience of foster youth and how far they’ve come,” says Jeanie Yoon, co-director of the Foster Youth Museum who majored in sociology at UC Berkeley.

The exhibit is presented  in partnership with California Youth Connection and the Y.O.U.T.H. Training Project, is open to the public every Saturday in March from 1 to 5 p.m. at Warehouse 416 in Oakland’s Uptown district.

Lost Childhoods is a unique way to tell stories that will bridge the gap between the foster care system and society.  It can play a significant part in resolving the challenges that are represented in the lost teddy bear, underpants from juvenile hall, and worn out sneakers displayed in the exhibit. At the very least, the visual representations will bring tangible awareness to a pressing issue: our youth need more.

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