Twelve current and former foster youth are participating in CCAI’s Foster Youth Internship ™ program, spending their summer interning for Members of Congress on Capitol Hill. On Tuesday, July 28 at a Congressional Briefing, they will use their legislative knowledge combined with their personal experience to educate federal policymakers on opportunities for reform in the U.S. foster care system. Each intern has researched and will present creative policy solutions. For the six days leading up to the briefing, we will provide a preview of two of the interns’ report topics.
Angelique Salizan, Age 23
Internship Assignment: Senate Finance Committee/Minority- Sen Ron Wyden (D-OR)
Report focus: Education opportunities for youth in foster care
Why it’s important to Angelique: “If I did not have the guidance from my educational-vocational specialist at my agency, I would not have embarked on the many educational opportunities I have had. I also would not have achieved my biggest accomplishment to date, earning my bachelor’s degree in Psychology.”
Erik Barrus, Age 29
Internship assignment: Senate Finance Committee/Majority- Sen Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Report focus: Importance of smaller, independently-run group homes for foster youth
Why it’s important to Erik: “I was one of those so-called troubled teens who was just looking for a place to feel loved and call home. I want to be able to provide this opportunity to others who want a home but don’t know how to go about securing it. I believe that every child deserves to have access to a loving home environment. Small family-style group homes are able to provide that to older children who would otherwise be subject to the negative environment that is most often abundant in the larger, warehouse-type group homes.”
Be sure to attend the Congressional Briefing on Tuesday, July 28 to learn about Angelique and Erik’s policy recommendations on education opportunities and group home living for youth in foster care. If you are unable to make it, you can download a copy of the report at www.ccainstitute.org once it is released on the 28th!