Kids in foster care are like any other kid

DCF Secretary David Wilkins

DCF Secretary David WilkinsI spoke with a group of teens in foster care while I was at last week’s Florida State Foster/Adoptive Parent Association conference. They brought up many concerns with me and it was truly an emotional moment for me.

Kids in foster care are like any others. They should not be punished for the actions of their parents.

One teen told me she felt like her friends thought she was a “psycho” because she couldn’t go to a spend-the-night party unless the friend’s parents got background checks. If you were in middle school, how would that make you feel?

A 17-year-old boy told me it was very difficult that he was not allowed to drive to school. It made him feel like an outcast.

And there was one teen that really caught my attention – she said she’d like to go to Harvard. I told her we would do everything possible to help her reach that dream. We’ve already implemented a way to hold her teachers and caretakers accountable for her education, but we’ll also help her fill out her application and get paperwork sent in.

We are simplifying the rules. Each case is different, but these are important issues to these kids and can be easily addressed. We’ve already made a rule that all kids in foster care should have access to social media if they meet the age guidelines. Again, so they can be like any other kid and have the opportunity to pursue their dreams.

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