I was pregnant when I aged out of foster care. My boyfriend and I wanted to have the baby, but I worried I'd always be a target for Child Protective Services (CPS) because I grew up in foster care and was mentally ill. But CPS and the mental health system ended up providing a great support system.
I have been in foster care before, but this is the first time I chose to be. Before, I was ashamed to be in care because other people might think I didn’t have a mother. Now I realize it wasn’t my fault my mom abused her kids. It’s not my fault I ended up in foster care. Signing myself back into care is the best thing I can do for myself, and I’m not ashamed anymore.
It’s no Disney show, but after more than 16 placements, Selena reflects on how stability and safety in a foster home help her overcome anger and aggression. “Now, two years later, it’s even better. Jenny, or Ma, as I call her now, is patient and caring. I have misbehaved and acted out, but she stands by me.”
A teenage writer explores the difference adults made in his life through acceptance: “School is a way for me to not turn out like my biological family. I love them, but I do not like the things they do. It makes me sad that their children may grow up the way I did — in foster care.”
A young writer reflects on how his father’s addiction impacted his family, his growing up and his own substance use. “After everything, I didn't want to be like him. I did not want be controlled by anything.”
A young writer’s story indicates many places where youth workers and systems could have intervened — healing child sexual abuse, treating drug abuse, protection during homelessness and providing an education.