Note: This is a guest post from Sebastian, an Appleseed child welfare intern.
I advocate for reform of the foster care system, because I know what it is like to move from home to home and not have my needs met in the system. I am writing this blog to introduce myself and ask you to be an advocate too.
My name is Sebastian and I am a former foster youth looking to give back to the community through using my voice to change the foster care system.
I am currently active in Project Everlast Lincoln, a program of former foster youth with similar goals. Through this program I was able to be connected with an internship at Nebraska Appleseed, where I am able to share my perspective and advocate for people in the foster care system to be able to live healthier, happier lives.
I grew up in the foster care system, my siblings and I going in the first time when I was nine years old because of my mother’s problems with drug addiction and my father’s suicide. I remained in foster care for most of my childhood. Things finally came full circle after more than two dozen placements and even more caseworkers. I and ended up back at my very first, and favorite, foster home, where I went through guardianship at the age of 17. Now I am in the Bridge to Independence Program, which helps people who age out of foster care as we transition into adulthood.
While most of my work has been on local decisions, I was recently provided the opportunity to present myself on the national level with Foster Youth In Action. I was able to go to Washington, D.C., and while there, I was able to accomplish more than I would have ever imagined.
While visiting our nation’s capital I was introduced to many former foster youth who have their own amazing stories. Beyond that, I got the chance to see how other states and groups approached their system problems, such as normalcy, access to driver’s licenses and sibling connections in foster care.
With the knowledge that I gained while in D.C., I hope to be able to provide insight on policies and approaches that other states have taken.