Who’s Eligible

Youth ages 18-26 with experience in the foster care or juvenile justice systems, located anywhere in the United States. You may only enter the contest once.


Please submit a 1,000 – 2,000 word essay on ONE of the following topics:

  1. What does home mean to you?
  2. What’s one thing the child welfare or juvenile justice system could have done to help you but didn’t?
  3. How has the criminal justice and/or correctional system impacted your family and you personally?


Your submission must include the following:

  • A title for your essay
  • A short written statement about you (100-300 words)
  • Your name, age and the state (and city or county) where you were in foster care and/or involved with juvenile justice
  • Your email address and phone number


Submit by 11:59 p.m. March 1, 2019


For each of the three topics, there will be first and second place winners, as well as 1-2 runners up who will have the opportunity to have their essays published in The Chronicle of Social Change as well as our print magazine, Fostering Families Today.

Grand prize winners will each receive $500 cash, runners up will get $250 cash, and finalists will each receive a $50 gift card.

Winners will be announced by the end of March 2019.


By submitting your essay, you grant Fostering Media Connections permission to publish your work as it chooses, indefinitely. All submissions will be blinded, meaning judges will not have any identifying information about the photographer. Winners will be asked to submit a short bio and headshot and to work with our editors to prepare their photos for publication.

How to Submit

Click here!!


Email us at youthvoice@fosteringmediaconnections.org or call us at (213) 265-7707 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. PST, Monday through Friday.

Good luck!