Volume XXIX | June 21, 2023

The Good Stuff in Child Welfare

Welcome to The Good Stuff in Child Welfare!


Our team at the Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice, & Research recognizes that between the all too frequent and grim child welfare stories that make us teary-eyed, clenched-fisted, and faint-hearted, there are inspiring accomplishments and heartening endeavors taking place all over this country at every level of practice. To elevate and promote these encouraging stories, we are pleased to bring you this monthly newsletter emphasizing news stories only about “The Good Stuff” from the broad field of child welfare. This month, we share unique and impactful programs that support individuals involved with the child welfare system. We hope this read gives you a few moments of hopefulness and a sense of possibility.


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Lawmakers Fund Parent Representation Program 

A new law in Oklahoma will create a statewide program providing better legal representation to parents who are involved with the child welfare system. The first year of the Family Representation and Advocacy Program, housed under the Administrative Office of the Courts, will be funded with $4.6 million. A nonprofit is being sought to manage the program that will pay and train attorneys to work with parents and kids, manage caseloads and provide support during court cases. Preliminary data from a parent representation program in Tulsa County, OK, shows that parents who receive high-quality legal representation are more likely to be reunited with their kids, who spend less time in state custody. Additional funding to expand the program may be added in future legislative sessions.

Link to Full Article

City to Use $4.2 Million in State Funding for Homeless Foster Youth

The Dream Center serves as a one-stop shop of resources for young adults experiencing homelessness after foster care in Bakersfield, CA. Up to 45 youth receive services at the Center each day, which includes a place youth can shower, do laundry, take leadership classes and cook. To expand the city’s attention to the housing crisis, Bakersfield is adding $4.2 million in state funding to take preventative measures to support this population, including paying for housing and adding new peer support specialists at the Dream Center. Cynthia Lira-Martinez, a former foster youth herself, and current staff said “Not only did it change my life, it changed my kid’s life. I was able to get off the streets, get my kids off the streets, now I’m able to be here and help others.”

Link to Full Article

Navy Veteran Who Spent 10 Years in Foster Care Graduates From University of Chicago 

A recent graduate of the University of Chicago is looking forward to making improvements to the child welfare system after having lived in foster care for a decade. U.S. Navy veteran Ricky Holder is among the first cohort of Veteran Scholars at the University of Chicago. He wants to use his career to ensure that families don’t experience the separation he, his four brothers and mother endured when he was placed in foster care due to poverty. "How do we keep families together? And, how do we make sure that kids who need the foster care system end up having a healthy and fruitful life?" Holder said.

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Lansing Area Nonprofit Helps Foster Families With Essentials

A Lansing, Michigan woman started a non-profit in her county to provide helpful services to foster parents in the area. When a child is placed in care, the organization known as “There’s Always Room” delivers “yes bags” to the foster home with items such as clothes, undergarments, snacks, toys, school supplies and more. As a foster parent herself, Moriah Bowman knew that children are often placed into a new home with nothing. Having an organization provide essentials to ease that transition is a great help. There’s Always Room also connects foster parents with a support system of other families that have experience supporting children in foster care. 

Link to Full Article

KCK Cafe Gives Youth Aging Out of Foster Care Chance at Success With On-the-Job Training

Taking its inspiration and curriculum from The Monkey & the Elephant, a Philadelphia coffee shop that employs and trains youth in foster care, nonprofit FosterAdopt Connect recently opened a café in Kansas City, Kansas. Connect Café is not only a restaurant that serves coffee drinks, breakfast and lunch, but also offers a program model with two key components: On-the-job training in the restaurant industry and professional development workshops on topics like customer service, resume writing, budgeting and taxes. “Every day I come in here the atmosphere just feels non-negative, really positive,” said Eh Doh, a 20-year-old who does “a little bit of everything” at the shop. 

Link to Full Article

First Tech Launches Foster Youth Savings Program in Partnership with Youth Villages Oregon

In April 2023, First Tech Federal Credit Union, the nation’s ninth-largest credit union, launched the Youth Villages Foster Youth Savings Program. This novel program in Oregon and Southwest Washington is the first credit union in the nation that allows children in foster care under the age of 18 years old to open a bank account without an adult cosigner. The initiative is supported by the foster care nonprofit Youth Villages Oregon, and is designed to help youth transitioning out of foster care gain financial independence. Andrew Grover, executive director at Youth Villages Oregon, said “First Tech’s been a great partner in our financial literacy efforts, and we are grateful to them for removing significant barriers so our youth can open their own savings account.”

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The Field Center team would like to thank the staff who brought this newsletter together and their contributions in providing readers with this uplifting content. Many thanks to our Associate Director Sarah Wasch for editing and our Administrative Coordinator Felicia Saunders for handling design and distribution. Special thanks to our Managing Faculty Director, Dr. Johanna Greeson for her idea to curate the “good news stories” happening in child welfare!

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