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.
Matthew Broderick, Age 22
Internship assignment: Representative Markwayne Mullin (R-OK)
Report focus: Overuse of psychotropic medications for youth in foster care
Why it’s important to Matthew: “I watched my little sister turn into a completely different person. These medications caused her to be in a constant zombie-like state, and it was frightening.”
Cierrena Spataro-Haynes, Age 24
Internship assignment: Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI)
Report focus: Supports for foster children of parents with Serious Mental Illness (SMI)
Why it’s important to Cierrena: “I was not prepared for my experience in court-ordered supervised visitation with my biological mother who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. I had to make sense of my biological mother’s behaviors without any direction.”
Be sure to attend the Congressional Briefing on Tuesday, July 28 to learn about Matthew’s and Cierrena’s policy recommendations on psychotropic medication and visitations with biological children 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!