When the school of hard knocks sets its sights on the pinnacle of power

CCAI Advisory Board Member Lindsay Ellenbogen writes about a former Foster Youth Intern for the The Hill‘s pundits blog today:

When Jetaine Hart came to Washington in 2009, she was well-accustomed to cramming the trappings of her life into a few small suitcases and moving them from place to place. By age 20, she moved to six different homes in northern California, each time uprooting the familiar for the unknown. Jetaine wasn’t what we affectionately call an “Army brat,” whose family moved periodically as service required; she was a child in foster care. Moving was not her choice; it’s what happened to her by chance.

But the move to Washington was different: first, because she wanted it; and second, because it was filled with promise, opportunity. Through a little-known program on Capitol Hill that gives former foster youth access to the privileged world of summer internships, Jetaine applied for a chance to start her professional life. Each year, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute selects 15 kids who spent time in foster care and places them in congressional offices. To qualify, these talented interns must attend college, a high bar that less than 3 percent of kids in foster care reach. Jetaine, with bachelor’s in hand, started her climb on Capitol Hill in the office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.).

Read the full article here.


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The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to raising awareness about the millions of children around the world in need of permanent, safe, and loving homes and to eliminating the barriers that hinder these children from realizing their basic right of a family.

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