TV star Willie Garson premiers adoption PSA

In an interview with Willie Garson, actor and star of USA Network’s White Collar, Garson talks about his character, Mozzie, who the show revealed last night was in foster care as a child.  Garson used this opportunity to talk about his son Nathen who he adopted from California’s foster care system.  The interview focuses on his experience adopting and the adjustment period.  Garson talks about using his celebrity to bring awareness to this issue and correct misconceptions in hopes of finding loving families for children in foster care.

“You know there’s a lot of kids out there, especially, I think, more so in this economy, there’s a lot of kids out there that for some reason that their parents are not able to take care of them, and there’s people who can take care of them, and they should be aware of that. […]  There’s nothing more satisfying then sharing a life with a child, nothing more satisfying. I get much more out of it than anything I give out.”


Extreme Makeover: Home Edition builds a home for an Angel in Adoption

Last year, CCAI recognized ABC’s top rated series Extreme Makeover: Home Edition as a National Angel in Adoption™.  At the time of the award’s gala, the show had built homes for 32 deserving families who had fostered andor adopted children.  In April, an episode aired that featured Beverly Hill-Burdette, who is one of CCAI’s 2011 Angels in Adoption™.  Because of her heart of gold and passion for helping children, as Beverly has fostered over 30 children and has adopted six, she was selected by Representative Scott Rigell (VA-District 2) to be his Angel in Adoption™.

While the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition crew was working hard to build her new house in Virginia Beach, designer Johnny Littlefield headed to Washington, DC to accept the Angel in Adoption™ award on Beverly’s behalf. When Johnny returned back to Virginia Beach, he made sure the award certificate was a part of the décor of Beverly’s beautiful new home. In fact, the first thing Beverly saw upon entering the foyer of her house was the framed Angels certificate, personally signed by Representative Rigell.

Be sure to watch the video of designer Johnny Littlefield’s meeting with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to receive the award on Beverly’s behalf.

Angel in Adoption certificate hanging in Beverly's foyer

Foster Youth Interns On Capitol Hill Work To Help Others

WASHINGTON, D.C.  (WUSA) – Marjorie Delgadillo has just graduated from college and is working as an intern for California Congresswoman Karen Bass. Marjorie says it’s a miracle she wound up here… based on her traumatic childhood.

“I was put into the system when I was 13 years old because I had suffered abuse by my stepfather from an early age.  I was bounced around from foster home to foster home, and shelters,” said Delgadillo.

Almost all foster children are taken from their homes because they’ve been abused or neglected… says Kathleen Strottman, the Executive Director of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

In most states, at 18 or 17, they will basically be ejected from the foster care system. They’ll maybe get a plastic bag of some things they’ve collected over the years. And a handshake and a pat on the back and a “good luck,” with no where to so,” said Kathleen Strottman.

At 14, Marjorie was lucky to find a permanent home with a loving couple. But that’s not the norm.

Only 50 percent graduate from high school… and only 3 percent …from college. A quarter of them wind up homeless.

“Fundamentally, we need to view children in the foster care system as any other child. We don’t when our child turns 18, tell them that its time to go and send them out into the world,” said Rep. Bass.

Congresswoman Bass wants foster children allowed to receive benefits until they’re 25. That’s something Marjorie will be pushing in her role as an intern and advocate.

I believe if they are able and afforded to have mentoring programs, like CCAI, or other ones that we can think of or dream of, then there would be more people of the foster care system who would be speaking out and making changes for people who have been in the system,” said Delgadillo.

Written by Peggy Fox and available online here.

New fund to help foster youth climb Capitol Hill

Former foster youth interning in Congress this summer will get a little help from the Sara Start Fund for Foster Youth, a new venture announced today by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI). With partners including Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Under Armour and matchbox food group, the Sara Start Fund is designed to help former foster youth get a start on their professional lives by providing a stipend for a business wardrobe and informal career counseling.  The Phillips Collection art museum will provide special enrichment activities.

The Sara Start Fund will work in tandem with CCAI’s Foster Youth Internship (FYI) program, which places former foster youth in congressional offices to advocate for the 463,000 youth currently in care across the country. Interns in the program must attend college and demonstrate leadership skills on campus.

“One of the main goals of the FYI program is to remind policymakers and those around them that youth who grow up in foster care are like any other youth in that they have hopes, dreams, and most importantly, enormous potential. The Sara Start Fund is one way we can invest in that potential and what I know for sure is that society will be the ultimate beneficiaries of this investment,” said Kathleen Strottman, CCAI’s executive director.

Click here to read the full press release.