2015 Foster Youth Intern Policy Report Preview: Educational Opportunities & Group Homes



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!

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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.

3 thoughts on “2015 Foster Youth Intern Policy Report Preview: Educational Opportunities & Group Homes

  1. As Erik’s Mom, I couldn’t be prouder. He came to us, a young man, hiding behind his hair- quiet, alone, angry and not saying a word. He has been a diamond in the rough. It is so wonderful that, not only has he found his voice, but he represents the voice of so many of our youth. Seeing Erik stand up and speak says volumes! He was the guy who was so nervous, he threw up before giving a speech or a talk. To have him be in D.C. working towards something he believes in, makes me swell with pride. I’m crying happy tears!

  2. This internship sounds like a wonderful idea and project. Foster children deserve a more compact home environment that can focus on each child as an individual with their individual needs and interests. I wish the best for all candidates, and especially for Erik. He is a good man who knows from experience the hard ships of being a “troubled teen” who felt alone and desired a good, supportive home environment.

  3. As Erik’s mom I couldn’t be prouder. To us came a young man who was hiding behind his hair so quiet, alone and angry and not saying a word. He has been a diamond in the rough. It is so wonderful that not only has he found his voice but the voice of so many of our youth. To see Erik stand up and speak says volumes. This from the guy who threw up before giving a speech or a talk.
    To be in DC and doing something for what you believe in…well, I’m just swelled up with pride and such happy tears!

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