I advocate for foster care, because I am a victim of it. My life is what led me to be an advocate and writing is the saving-grace that led me to be an author.
Being an advocate for foster care has taught me one very important lesson. It has taught me that everyone has his or her own agenda when it comes to foster care. That is one of the main reasons that advocacy, for the institution, has gone nowhere.
There are so many people pushing their own personal ideals and issues that the focus, children and youth in foster care, gets lost amid the noise of so much yelling and so many mixed messages.
I look at causes like breast cancer and Livestrong, and I see a unified front (no matter who is advocating for them). They are all pushing one agenda, versus advocates in foster care pushing thousands of different agendas. Society has not gotten behind the institution of foster care, because they have no idea who, or what, they should be supporting. They have not been educated to the cause (like Komen advocates or Livestrong advocates).
Foster Care In The U.S. will educated society about the institution of foster care, the children within the system, the laws that govern it and where and how to effect change in a positive way. The only agenda being pushed here is education.
I cannot give a test to a class without first having taught that class about what would be on the test. I cannot build a home without first having a detailed plan of instructions to go by, and I cannot expect society to support foster care if they have no idea what it is.
This book, and the course, was a 7-year labor of love. It is an introduction to foster care. It is designed to give students, social workers, law enforcement personnel, university students, nonprofits, foster parents and potential foster parents a working knowledge of the institution as well as familiarize them with the laws that govern it.
The three editions that follow will continue to educate society about foster care. Those editions are:
Foster Care In The U.S.: Exploring Social Work, Social Justice & Social Change (Volume Π)
Foster Care In The U.S.: Exploring Race, Economics, Diversity & Education Statistics In Foster Care (Volume ΙΠ)
Foster Care In The U.S.: What Works? A Comprehensive Look At Foster Care Programs Globally (Volume IV) (includes a DVD Documentary)
Each book will teach, and I believe that they achieve that. Each book will start and keep the conversations about foster care going, and I believe they do that as well.
However, the most important thing that each book will do is help children in foster care by teaching the world about it and them.
I am the first foster kid, and African American female in U.S. History, to develop a college course which teaches the institution of foster care. After reading this book, and hearing me speak, people will absolutely know foster care. By the grace of God, I hope and pray that they will begin to believe in it as well.
This book, and every one that follows it, is hope. My belief in what foster care can be is faith.
Without hope and faith nothing is possible, but with them, God says, ALL things are possible. That means that a successful foster care system is possible.
On May 1, 2016, I will launch an Indiegogo campaign aimed at raising funds for foster care. I hope and pray that every Tuesday, in May, you (those of you reading this) make Foster Care In The U.S. part of your giving. In doing so I hope to be able to save the lives of thousands of kids like me, and effect change in a positive way.
Change begins with self. I pray that you see foster care as a worthy cause to give to. #GivingTuesday