Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Arizona foster care series ended a week too soon

Three "faces of Arizona foster care:" Regina, Christa and Lupe.

An Arizona foster care series in the Payson Roundup demonstrates journalists' commitment to "put a face" on foster care.

In pursuit of this goal, they designated a three-week period to focus on this topic:
1.) During the first week, reporter Michael Maresh spent the day with staff at Child Protective Services.

2.) During the second week, Felicia Megdal interviewed parents who had lost their children.

3.) The third week was earmarked for interviews with foster parents.

Can anyone guess whose viewpoint was missing? If you said foster care youth and alumni, you are correct.

Kudos to the journalists for recognizing that in Arizona today, 9,902 children are living with foster parents. Thanks to them for stepping into the shoes of social workers, foster parents and biological parents, and helping others to empathize with these complicated positions.

I only encourage them to take this courageous journey one step further, by allowing air time for foster care youth and alumni. We are the "consumers" of the foster care system. Our lives are most greatly impacted by the outcome of custodial decisions.

In the future, I encourage the staff of Payson Roundup to add a fourth week to "put a face on foster care." I actually have three faces to share: (see above); three founding members of Foster Care Alumni of America.

Payton Roundup. Foster care series hopes to put human face on government system. Nov. 17, 2006. http://www.paysonroundup.com/section/opinion/story/26178

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Far too often the youth are left silent. People think that by advocating they give a voice to the voiceless, the question becomes who has made them voiceless in the first place? Of course there is always room for and a need for advocacy, but without customer reviews no product can truly be evaluated.
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