Contact: Gloria Moran
Phone: (518) 486-5184
“For more than 20 years, the Professional Development Program, University at Albany, along with the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, has sponsored a Foster Care Youth Speak Out. The Speak Out is a structured forum where foster care youth can voice their feelings, thoughts, concerns, and issues about being in foster care to caseworkers, voluntary agency staff, foster parents, and a panel of state and local decision makers.
The youth speak outs are thoughtful, heart-felt, and help provide a better understanding of what it is like to be a youth in foster care. Some of the issues that have consistently been a part of past Speak Outs include: multiple placements, not being able to have “normal” life experiences (i.e. hanging out with friends), educational options (i.e. college), getting a driver’s license, clothing allowances and employment. Underlying these concerns is a desire to be heard and to be a part of the decision-making process regarding their lives. As one youth in care advocated, “nothing about us, without us.” In addition, youth use the Speak Out to share successes and the positive impact of being in foster care!.