A Student’s Perspective on Foster Care

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MAP is currently preparing to lead Catholic Youth Advocacy Day 2012, on March 20th! We are expecting a large audience of 500 students, and are excited to share our work with attendees. Below is an article written by MAP member Melanie Mascarenhas, inspired by Asm. Jim Beall’s efforts to reform our foster care system. Be sure to check our blog every week leading up to the event for more articles about different local and global sociopolitical issues.

A college diploma: the program that allows an aspiring young adult to have the opportunity to make their dreams into a reality.

At a glance, college seems fairly accessible. There’s financial aid for the economically disadvantaged; there are scholarships available for the enterprising student and college fairs and college counselors and entire websites wholly dedicated to college.

And yet, there are those who, at the end of their fourth year of high school, do not go on to a collegiate institution. Specifically, only 2% of individuals in the foster care system proceed to earn a college degree (Peterson). Why? Because those in foster care often spend their childhood bouncing from home to home. As a result, they often do not have a solid academic foundation and miss quite a bit of school. Furthermore, foster children often aren’t able to make full use of the tools available to them. Growing up with no constant parental guidance makes it unlikely for the average foster child to have someone to turn to for assistance and support with the stressful and strenuous college application process.

Aside from their background, foster children’s’ futures are hindered by societal labels placed upon them. The common ideas that foster students “can’t earn a college diploma” and “are intentionally underachieving” are undoubtedly disheartening to a foster child looking into attending college (Peterson). After all, priorities, personalities, and people are shaped and influenced by outside sources, community included.

What really needs to take root into foster students’ lives is affirmation: showing foster students that they can earn a degree, that they can go to graduate school if they so desire, that they have potential and the ability and resources to fulfill it. Foster students simply need to have the chance to go out and do great things. They need someone to believe in them and their abilities just like any teen. They need society to stop the judgment and start to see them not as needy foster kids but merely as kids who need a chance.

Blog article written by Melanie Mascarenhas.

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MAP meets with Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren

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Mitty students just returned from a highly productive meeting with Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren today.  Mitty students extended their meeting in D.C. with a direct meeting with Congresswoman Lofgren today.  The issues were: Conditions for Veterans, Foster Care, Human Trafficking, and Gang Reduction legislation.

Archbishop Mitty students meet with Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren

Highlights from today: 

  • Archbishop Mitty students will be creating a template placard outlining Human Trafficking state laws to be distributed to the U.S. Restaurant Association and the U.S. Food Commission to be publicly posted in restaurants, hotels and business throughout the country.
  • Congresswoman Lofgren agreed to review and potentially co-sponsor H.R. 1820   Fighting Gangs and Empowering Youth Act of 2011.
  • She will be proposing legislation to help prevent Veteran home foreclosures for American servicemen and women.
  • Mitty students presented three additional new bills to help Veterans for her consideration and potential support and co-voting.
  • She will be discussing and co-sponsoring legislation on Foster Care with Congresswoman Karen Bass (H.R. 2012:  Foster Care Mentoring Act of 2011).

MAP delegates prepare for today's meeting

As always with Congresswoman Lofgren’s office, we leave inspired, accomplished and ready to make productive changes for our state and country.  Above all, her office seems to be one of the most vigorous and effective offices to work with.   We are most proud to have a connection with one of our nations’ most progressive and forward thinking leaders in Congress.

Students are now preparing for Catholic Youth Advocacy Day in Sacramento this March.  A youth leadership day connecting California Catholic High School students with state legislators on behalf of the most at need in their communities.  For information on how to participate contact Ms. Linda Wanner with the California Catholic Conference at lwanner@cacatholic.org.