2015 Foster Youth Intern Policy Report Preview: Mental Health Screenings and Sexual Education


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 on a range of topics. For the six days leading up to the briefing, we will provide a preview of two of the interns’ report topics.


Jennessa Ahline, Age 23

Internship assignment: Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO)

Report focus: Importance of mental health screenings for youth in foster care

Why it’s important to Jennessa: “Foster youth experience traumatic upbringings that I believe could be mitigated with appropriate outreach and treatment.”

Ashley New Photo

Ashley Williams, Age 25

Internship assignment: Representative Karen Bass (D-CA)

Report focus: Implementing sexual education for youth in foster care

Why it’s important to Ashley: “I believe that had I been properly equipped [with knowledge] when I entered the foster care system I may have been able to avoid the unwanted sexual encounters that I experienced in the system. Age-appropriate sexual education is important because it gives children the tools they need to protect themselves.”

Be sure to attend the Congressional Briefing on Tuesday, July 28 to learn about Jennessa’s and Ashley’s policy recommendations on mental health screenings and sexual education 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.

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