Our staff reading group discussed the book “Growing Up in the Care of Strangers.” About a dozen helping professionals, who were once in foster care or group homes, looked back to share their stories in the book, many of which were filled with great tragedy and pain. They provided many insights not only into what children go through, but what can be done to help improve the system. Multiple placements, splitting up of siblings, high turnover in staff – all these make the life of a child in placement stressful and difficult. One common theme that came across over and over was to find ways to give children a voice in addressing their needs.
Through our last strategic plan, and our work with Child Trends to identify ways to measure student growth, we are increasingly working with focus groups of students to hear their concerns, ideas and hopes.
Reading some of the heart wrenching biographies gave us all an added incentive to strive even harder to accomplish that.