Halloween is over, but if you want to feel scared, just do this:
Go to http://www.spokeo.com/
Search for yourself (by personal email address OR name OR phone)
They will list your name, age, home address and a map to your house, if you own a house. They will list any blogs you have written and any social networks that you are a part of… including your Amazon wish list.
If you are uncomfortable with having that information available online, they will take it down, but you have to submit the request three times:
1. Search for yourself by email. Copy that URL into the privacy page and follow the instructions, including checking your email to confirm the request
2. Search for yourself by name. You can scroll down to your state and if you own a house, they will list your address. Copy that URL into the privacy page and follow the instructions.
3. Search for yourself by phone. Cell phones are still relatively anonymous, but if you have a home phone, see how much information about people can pull up. If you want that info taken down, then Copy that URL into the privacy page and follow the instructions.
The fact that this level of information about us is just out there on the internet is S-P-O-O-K-Y….
I am currently wrestling with an issue regarding how to respond to the "But I had it harder" attitude -- which I believe is inaccurate, and stands in the way of helpfulness to today's foster care youth.
During a recent college event for foster care youth, an adult presenter from an outside agency, who came from an impoverished background, commented on about how much she wished that she had access to the resources available to emancipated foster care youth (in terms of filling out the FAFSA as an independent and ETV funds).
However, that doesn't take into account:
the value that "family privilege" brings to youth from intact families
the accrued knowledge, information and love that adds up over the years (aka: "common sense")
the value of actually having a place to go to on the holidays, and having someone miss you when you aren't there.
I'm not only a former foster child, I'm also a college-and-grad school graduate, wife and stepmom to two beautiful daughters who are now in college.
My husband and I view parenting as an honor, a privilege and a charge. This means that our daughters will NEVER need to worry about:
Whether or not they are lovable and precious to us.
Whether or not we will protect them and provide for them.
Whether or not they can call when they are struggling, or stay with us during college breaks.
Whether or not, on holidays, we would miss them if they weren't there.
Such is not the same for foster children.
Such was not the case for me. I remember, so clearly, what it felt like to be a young person in college, and facing that existential crisis of wondering why I was here on earth if there isn't going to be someone to love me.
But, at the end of the day, it is not about me. It is about each and every one of these young people who are "aging out" of foster care in the midst of A RECESSION and trying to survive.
And that's the cause that I am dedicating my heart to...
One of the litmus tests of child welfare agencies regarding how much they truly care about the clients they serve and lifelong outcomes for youth is how they respond to alumni of the foster care system.
This publication exists to inform postsecondary educators and education administrators about the struggles of homeless youth and possible solutions that can help these youth achieve a college education.