One can run all kinds of keywords through WikiLeak’s “Hillary Clinton Email Archive.”
The words I chose were “foster care.”
The 30,322 emails and attachments included in WikiLeak’s database yielded five results.
The emails are not so much revelatory, rather indicative of what is commonly known about Clinton’s deep interest in child welfare. They include three people who have made a large impact on the foster care system on the national and local level; the kind of people that any future president should likely be talking to regularly.
On May 10, 2010, Clinton sent Burns Strider, who worked for her during her 2008 presidential bid, a link to a news story highlighting Jelani Freeman’s graduation from Howard University School of Law.
Last month, Freeman spoke at the Democratic National Convention. In 2003 he worked as an intern for then Senator Clinton, as part of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s Foster Youth Internship Program.
Freeman speaking at the DNC in July.
On May 19 of the same year, longtime Clinton advisor Cheryl Mills forwarded Secretary Clinton an email that she had received from John Podesta, who held high-level posts with Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. The email included a note Podesta’s daughter, Megan Rouse, had written about a recent encounter she had with Don Graves, who has worked with transition-aged foster youth in Contra Costa County’s Independent Living Skills Program since 1996.
“Don told a heart-warming story of how then First Lady Hillary Clinton came out to visit with the kids in the program and hear their concerns,” Rouse wrote. “A major concern was that resources for kids coming out of foster care ended at age 18 and 6 months – they needed more help. Within two years of the visit, President Clinton signed the Foster Care Independence Act, providing more money and more resources for ages 18 – 21. I think it is widely accepted that Hillary championed this legislation, and this was surely echoed by Don. He was beaming with admiration for her and what she accomplished to help the kids.”
In August of 2008, Clinton sent longtime staffer Huma Abedin an email about Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. During her tenure in the Senate, Landrieu had become renowned for her dedication to foster care issues. Beyond her work in Congress, she also played a key role on the advisory board of the aforementioned Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI).
“Mary Landrieu asked me to attend a dinner about foster care,” Clinton wrote. “Do you have any details? Also she mentioned an event at the White House about adoption and foster care. Have you heard anything about this? Can you call Landrieu’s office to follow up?”
My guess is the dinner she was talking about had something to do with CCAI. As Kathleen Strottman, CCAI’s former director, recently pointed out in a piece for The Chronicle, Clinton was often there for vulnerable children.
“About a week after her mother passed away, Clinton kept her promise to be the keynote speaker at a CCAI event focused on orphans in Africa,” Strottman wrote. “Flanked by Pastor Rick Warren, she spoke movingly about how when she sees a child alone in an orphanage, wanting nothing but to belong, it makes her think of how much her mother did to overcome such loss in her own life. I will never be able to measure the impact that speech had on consequent efforts to promote families over orphanages for children in Africa, but if the emotional reaction of the government leaders in the room was any indication, it was key.”