Foster Care Youth Voices: An Introduction

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Garet Fryar, Policy Research Assistant

“Policy makers and advocates should understand the struggle that a youth goes through before they exit the system. The complications do not always happen after they age out…A cry for help is expressed in many different ways in every youth you come across.” –Dani

I love [my foster mom] dearly because she was my angel who perfected me, guided me, accepted me for who I was and who I sought to become, but most of all she loved me and that was all I could ask for.” –Taevon

In honor of National Foster Care Month, AYPF is featuring the stories and advice of four young people who were in the foster care system.

Read them here:

Every year in the United States there are nearly half a million children and youth in foster care. Over 26,000 of them will “age out” of the system. These eighteen-year-olds must navigate the new challenges of adulthood without the traditional support system that many others have like parents to ask for help, connections in the community to access jobs, or even a home to go to.

Please join us this week as we learn about the lives of four young people – Taevon, Dani, Shannon, and Maria – who were once in foster care and now are living as successful adults. Although their stories vary, their advice echoes the need for change. While most states have extended the age of foster care eligibility so that youth can receive services for a longer period of time, these young people still have many unmet needs. More can be done to create access to sustainable social capital, permanency, and postsecondary opportunities so that youth in transition from foster care can have lifelong success. For a review of the topic and recommendations from AYPF, please see our issue brief, Creating Access to Opportunities for Youth in Transition from Foster Care, and related resources.

We hope you enjoy learning about these young adults and reading their stories. If you would like to get in contact with one of the youth please email Garet Fryar at

Garet Fryar is the Policy Research Assistant at AYPF.


The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policy leaders, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels. AYPF events and publications are made possible by contributions from philanthropic foundations. For a complete list, click here.