The Chronicle of Social Change is highlighting each of the policy recommendations made this summer by the participants of the Foster Youth Internship Program (FYI), a group of 11 former foster youths who completed Congressional internships. The program is overseen each summer by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, with support from the Sara Start Fund.
Each of the FYI participants crafted a carefully researched policy recommendation during their time in Washington. Today, we highlight the recommendation of Amnoni Myers, 25, a senior at Gordon College in Wenham, Mass.
States receiving IV-B and IV-E foster care funds from the Department of Health and Human Services should be required to follow a federally-established minimum standard for training caregivers on the impact of trauma. The Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 should be amended to allow for continuation of training services after placement.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that experiencing childhood trauma could decrease a person’s life expectancy by as many as 20 years.
More than 70 percent of foster youths experience at least two forms of complex trauma, but training on trauma for foster parents, adoptive parents and guardians is often scarce or nonexistent.
In Her Own Words
“When I was 12 years old, one foster mother chain-locked the fridge to prevent me from eating. This inhumane treatment was a psychological ‘trigger’ from my past, so it naturally increased my anxiety and led me to feel afraid and worthless.”
The Chronicle’s Take
While the role of ACES in removal and placement decision-making could become a hot topic, Myers is right on here: It is a no-brainer that caregivers ought to understand the often toxic stress experienced by many of the children they will care for.
Click here to read Myers’ entire proposal and those of her fellow FYI participants.