21 Sep Normalcy Is Needed In Foster Care And Beyond
Normalcy Laws Help Foster Youth Transition to Adulthood
Why Normalcy is Important For Foster Alumni
Going to prom, spending the night at a friend’s house-these are activities most kids get to have during childhood. For youth in foster care, these coming-of-age experiences are difficult to experience. Normalcy often eludes them.
“When I was in foster care, foster kids couldn’t get a driver’s license,” said Foster Care Alumna Connie Iannetta. “My foster parents believed I should have normal experiences; I went to prom and dated but I still couldn’t spend the night at my friends’ homes.”
Youth in foster care face a myriad of confidentiality laws and policies that sometimes affect their ability to lead normal lives. This has lead to advocacy efforts for ‘normalcy laws.’ Connie who serves as a National Director for FCAA is now a foster parent and is one-hundred percent on board.
“With ‘normalcy’ laws in place, it has empowered foster parents to feel like normal parents,” Connie says. “They can include their foster children in family activities like family vacations and privileges.”
‘Prudent Parenting’ laws have been passed statewide and nationally within the last five years. This legislation helps youth in care experience ‘normal’ activities like their peers who are not in care. This includes out-of-town school field trips, going to the hair salon, and having the choice to attend church.
“Kids need space to be kids so they can transition to adulthood,” Connie says.
Becoming independent is a rite of passage all young adults experience in our culture. For young people leaving foster care, having support in place for independence is not only imperative but should be a normal and necessary component.
“Young people need housing and healthcare when leaving care,” says FCAA Board Chair Chereese Phillips. “We want to expand programs that are working so foster alumni can be successful.
Alumni leaving foster care face a number of issues including homelessness, sex trafficking and a lack of access to healthcare services. Fully funded programs and support systems help circumvent these challenges for foster alumni.
“It is important FCAA members stay engaged and advocate in the political process,” Chereese says. “We want for our brothers and sisters in care what congress would want for their own children.”
If you are an alumnus of the foster care system and you share our views of connecting and empowering those in and from foster care we invite you to become a member! Click here to sign up! If you are not an alumnus, but you hold these beliefs we welcome you to join our cause as an ally.
FCAA Blog & Content Editor Jamerika Haynes is the founder of Clever Jam Communications, a consulting firm offering facilitation, strategic communications and motivational speaking to child welfare organizations and the public. She has over ten years’ experience as a journalist and advocate for foster children and youth. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering, reading and spending time with her loved ones.