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I Will Never Forget That I Could Have Lived With People Who Loved Me

We are so proud of #ND4Y Changemaker Sixto Cancel for sharing his story and ways America can improve the foster care system in the New York Times. Sixto writes, “When I left the foster care system, I founded a nonprofit, Think of Us, to promote systems change for foster care. We partnered with the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Casey Family Programs to conduct research to collect the stories of foster youths in group care. The result is our new report, “Away From Home: Youth Experiences of Institutional Placements in Foster Care.” In our work, I learned I had been right to fear group homes. Themes of neglect, harm and loneliness, as well as physical and sexual abuse, repeat through the stories we gathered from 78 foster youths going through the group care system. When group homes are used as replacements for families rather than as treatment interventions, they perpetuate a cycle of spiraling trauma and harm.” As a result, we are making a bold call: Children should not be placed in foster care because of poverty. If children do enter care, it should be because of true abuse or neglect. These children should be placed with kin first and with foster families as a last resort. We want to see an end to the use of unnecessary group home placements in foster care.”

Read the full article here.

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