After leaving foster care, Jessica Francis had to grow up alone, often looking to Google for guidance.
“I had to figure out a lot of things on my own,” Francis said in an interview on the Foster Movement Podcast, produced by the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO). In the podcast’s pilot episode, Francis shared her personal experience of navigating the foster care system starting at age of 12 before later pursuing higher education and career.
Without any other options, young adults leaving foster care often find that “if something happens, [they] don’t really have anywhere to go back to,” Francis said.
The Foster Movement Podcast brings awareness to the difficulties associated with life in the foster care system, thanks to a revolving set of guests involved with care and hosts Jason Weber and Diego Fuller.
In an email to The Chronicle of Social Change, podcast host Weber said that young adults who grew up in foster care can provide important lessons to listeners of the show.
“We believe that listening to the stories of young adults who experienced foster care first-hand can give foster parents and advocates priceless insights that will make us better able to care for children and their families,” Weber said.
Posted on a monthly basis, the podcast features the stories of various individuals involved with the foster care system, such as former foster youth like Francis or community advocates.
Later in the first episode, Weber introduces Pam Parrish, the founder and president of Connections Homes, a nonprofit organization that connects trained individuals with young adults to provide stable, healthy relationships and mentorship. Working primarily with former foster youth, Parrish’s organization gives young adults “a friend, a trusted person,” who will help with everything from obtaining a driver’s license to learning how to cook macaroni and cheese.
Shedding light on the difficulty youth have in forging positive, long-standing relationships is not the only issue that the podcast tackles. Now at three episodes, the Foster Movement Podcast has also addressed ways to reform the foster care system and key factors regarding relationships between foster youth and their biological families.
For example, in a recent episode, Weber advises foster or adoptive parents on how to best handle relationships between their foster child and his or her biological family.
“We want to see more people engaged in a variety of ways in the foster care system, and we want to see those that are engaged consistently growing in their ability to do it well,” Weber said.