This month we’re highlighting Foster Advocates. Foster Advocates collectively organizes with Fosters as they direct the growth of their networks, programs, communication, and advocacy. Foster Advocates center and elevate the lived experiences of Fosters as they identify gaps, barriers, and solutions for systems change.
Additionally, they advocate for legislative, policy, and practice reform at all levels to improve experiences for Minnesota Fosters. Foster Advocates envisions a world where everyone involved in the state’s foster care system has the same access to opportunities and outcomes as their peers; and where Foster voices are respected and community expertise is sought in every aspect of the child welfare system.
Photo: Event with Governor Tim Walz to celebrate the signing of Ombuds
What Makes Foster Advocates unique? At Foster Advocates, Fosters inform all pillars of our work as they envision opportunities and better outcomes for Fosters that come after them. Fosters lead the work. From our staff to our Community Board, those with lived experience are central to our decision-making. We value their voices and their expertise at every level of our programs.
What is your biggest advocacy success of 2021?
Our priority goal at the Minnesota Legislature for 2021 was ensuring Fosters have access to the same opportunities non-fostered young people get when turning 18. One significant way to create an equitable starting line was through the Fostering Independence Higher Education Grants — which passed June 2021! Starting Fall 2022, Fosters will have the chance to go to college by braiding existing federal and state-based aid programs and providing a last-dollar-in scholarship for eligible Fosters that covers the full cost of attendance so that they can attend these Minnesota schools. Share this information about the Fostering Independence Higher Education Grants with Fosters in your life, educators and youth work professionals!