DES MOINES, Iowa, Oct. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Each year, some 30,000 youth in the U.S. exit foster care without a connection to a permanent family. As a result, they face greater risks of homelessness, unemployment, incarceration and mental illness. About 450 of those youth each year are from the state of Iowa.
What has to change to better help these vulnerable young people?
Several Iowa youth who spent time in foster care will have a chance to tell their personal stories and offer their personal perspectives Friday morning at a special event in Des Moines. Federal and local leaders will join the youth in what promises to be a powerful and poignant discussion about the challenges that exist in the current child welfare system, promising efforts taking place in Iowa and across the nation to improve outcomes for children, and how changes in the system could improve the lives of vulnerable children and families.
Casey Family Programs – the nation's largest operating foundation focused entirely on foster care and improving the child welfare system – invites you to join Iowa youth currently and formerly in foster care, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, and child welfare leaders for this important discussion about improving the lives of Iowa's most vulnerable citizens.
DATE AND TIME
Friday, Oct. 22
10 to 11:30 a.m.
Registration opens at 9:30.
The Temple For Performing Arts
Recital Hall, Fourth Floor
1011 Locust Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50309
This discussion will examine the impacts of the recent Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act and the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth, co-chaired by Sen. Grassley, as well as the ongoing efforts to reform the federal financing of child welfare in order to create opportunities to improve the lives of Iowa's vulnerable children and families.
The youth currently and formerly in foster care who will share their powerful stories come from across the state. They include:
- Franceska entered foster care at age 12, leaving her adoptive family and an unsafe living situation. She has lived in six foster homes, shelter care and the Iowa State Training school in Toledo. She is now a student at Des Moines Area Community College.
- Janessa entered foster care at age 14. Separated from her sisters, she spent time at a youth shelter but was determined not to become another statistic. She is now a college student at the University of Iowa in Iowa City and works to improve foster care in Cedar Rapids and Boone.
- Travis spent time in multiple group homes in Central Iowa before finding a permanent home with an aunt and uncle that he first met after moving to Iowa.
- Keith spent time in four shelter placements before he landed in a supportive foster home. He is now enrolled at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge.
- Julie entered foster care at age 8. She lived in foster homes and with relatives, but didn't secure a permanent family until she was 16, at which point her life improved. She graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in child, adult and family services.
The national perspective
About 424,000 children live in foster care in the United States, including 6,500 in Iowa. Over the past few years, we've seen those numbers decline thanks to promising approaches that are helping ensure more vulnerable children are living in safe, nurturing and permanent families. But more work needs to be done.
About Casey Family Programs
Casey Family Programs is the nation's largest operating foundation focused entirely on foster care and improving the child welfare system. Founded in 1966, we work to provide and improve — and ultimately prevent the need for — foster care in the United States. As champions for change, we are committed to our 2020 Strategy — a goal to safely reduce the number of children in foster care and improve the lives of those who remain in care.
SOURCE Casey Family Programs