TOGETHER 2008: ALUMNI FAMILY REUNION
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2008
STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS OF THE TOGETHER 2008 HONORARY HOST COMMITTEE
U.S. Representative Chaka Fattah, Pennsylvania (2nd Congressional District)
Every child needs and deserves a loving family. Every child needs and deserves to feel part of a community, a part of something larger than themselves. That’s why I whole heartedly support the Foster Care Alumni Family Reunion as it provides individuals - separated from their family of birth and embraced by their family of choice – the opportunity to reflect and reconnect on their shared experiences. The branches of the foster family tree extend high and wide, rooted in a foundation of love and commitment, they reach up and out to all who entered this unique family group of children from every culture and every community.
U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, Louisiana
I am so proud to be a part of this first-annual Foster Care Alumni of America event, and wholeheartedly support this organization’s efforts to create a long-lasting support system for individuals who grew up in foster homes. Children who grow up in foster care face numerous challenges, many of which follow them as they emerge from the foster care system. Americans should be attuned to the precarious mental and physical health issues that face our foster children. Lawmakers, in particular, should be well educated on the policies that will create the best circumstances possible for children in foster care in and transitioning from foster care. I know that FCAA will continue to promote awareness of our foster care system and the ways it can be strengthened, and I am proud to be a member of the extended family of our foster care alumni.
U.S. Representative Jim McDermott, Washington State (7th Congressional District)
Tradition begins with a first step and I am confident that the first Alumni Family Reunion is destined to become an important annual event in the lives of Americans who have been in foster care. The reunion is a celebration and recognition of an extended family waiting to welcome new people as they transition from a supportive home to an independent life as a productive citizen. Everyone has a story and the reunion makes it possible to share it. The Alumni Family Reunion is a great event and makes it an especially proud day to be an adult alumnus of the foster care system. As chairman of the House subcommittee that has jurisdiction over foster care, I know we have a lot of work to do as a nation to improve the foster care system, and I want your help to make foster care better, so that one story we can share in the second annual reunion is about how we worked together to make a positive difference in the lives of young Americans.
U.S. Representative Jerry Weller, Illinois (11th Congressional District)
The Foster Care Alumni of America have been great partners in our efforts to reform foster care and adoption and improve the systems for children and caregivers. The bipartisan bill I co-authored, the "Fostering Connections to Success Act," makes significant progress in many areas. It fixes inequities in federal funding for caregivers; stresses the importance of foster youth graduating from high school; promotes better health outcomes for children in care; and helps place foster children with blood relatives whenever possible, including providing financial support for relatives who do so. It is an honor to have the support of the Alumni, and an honor to co-chair today's event