Foster Care Awareness Month podcast series – Episode 4

Appleseed intern Vic Klafter

Note: For Foster Care Awareness Month in May, we are releasing a series of podcasts hosted by Appleseed intern Vic Klafter built on fantastic interviews with incredible Nebraskans who have been involved with the child welfare or juvenile justice system, with a focus on foster care and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and/or Transgender people.

In the middle of the series we’ll feature a guest blog post from our newest child welfare intern and then cap it off with a long-form episode compiling the three segments together with some extra discussion and analysis.

Look for important links in the accompanying blog posts with each episode to look further into the data. Leave comments to let us know what you think of the interviews. And share, share, share!

In the final episode of this Foster Care Awareness Month podcast, our full conversations with former foster youth Nathan Collier (1:10), foster parent Taryn Retzlaff (3:47), former caseworker Michelle Lueders (17:15), juvenile public defenderAmy Peters (21:00), agency director Ricci Benson (33:45) and Mace Slisokzi of CEDARS Youth Services (50:25).

Episode 4 – ‘There’s a lot of work to be done’

My love for Nebraska has been reaffirmed after producing this podcast. My love has not simply been cultivated by meeting and talking with inspiring Nebraskans who share my passion for healthy children, but also by discovering the problems and obstacles Nebraska faces to achieve this goal. In the podcast, I explicitly mention many policies regarding continuing care and caseworkers.

However, one that I didn’t mention, because it didn’t necessarily directly relate, is an anti-discrimination law to protect LGBTQ kids in foster care. But it’s still on my mind just as it was when I wrote my first blog post for Nebraska Appleseed.

Which brings me to my closing thoughts. I’ve talked at you a lot over the past five weeks. Nedhal’s blog was hopefully a refreshing intermission as she is someone who has actually experienced the child welfare system. I say this not to be cheeky but to remind many of those who are reading this blog without personal child welfare experience that we are effectively outsiders looking in on those whose voices and stories we need to amplify.

Getting the privilege to do that through this podcast has reminded me why I want to do the work I do in the child welfare system. It has reminded me of the privileged and healthy childhood I experienced thanks to my parents and numerous gracious, compassionate caregivers.

If we all commit to being just one link in the chain of grace for one child, the child welfare system will gradually evolve until it is barely recognizable in the best way possible.

Thank you so much for listening.

For more information on the Foster Care Alumni of America organization, contact, Amy Peters at apeters@lancaster.ne.gov or at the Foster Care Alumni website. Keep in touch with me as I enter into new positions in the child welfare sphere at vicklafter@gmail.com or on LinkedIn at Victory Klafter.

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