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.