First Lady Melania Trump participated in a virtual roundtable with the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s (CCAI) Foster Youth Intern Group last Monday to discuss the group policy suggestions on issues they have found plaguing America’s foster care system.
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In the virtual roundtable with the 12 foster youth interns led by CCAI Coordination Staff Taylor Draddy along with other administration officials for a briefing on the policy solutions and report the interns have been working on during their summer internship program. The Foster Youth Intern (FYI) program was established in 2003 that includes a team of interns spending their summer in the Capitol researching policy issues and create a policy proposal report affecting children in the foster care system. The policy report is presented to Congress members and released to child welfare advocates all across the United States.
The roundtable highlights the First Lady’s Be Best first pillar of her initiative that focuses on well-being, including social, emotional, and physical health. Since the pandemic, Melania has made foster care system a top priority, by holding a virtual roundtable with a group of foster care and adoption organization, working with the administration on initiatives aimed at ensuring the children awaiting for placement are placed into forever families and strengthening relationships with governors, human services leaders, philanthropic organizations and faith-based organizations to help reform and improving the system.
Yesterday I held a virtual roundtable with the @CCAInstitute #FosterYouth Intern Group. We discussed their ideas to improve #FosterCare policy & proposals for child welfare advocates across the country. Thank you for your efforts to raise awareness to policymakers. #BeBest pic.twitter.com/2V8LdQ04az— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) July 28, 2020
“Taking the time to understand what needs to change in order to support children and families, you have translated your experiences and your passion into action,” Melania said to the 12 foster youth interns who partake in the roundtable, according to a White House readout. “Now, it is up to us to advance proposals like these, so that children and caregivers can see the benefits of your advocacy.”
The interns found three issues plaguing the foster care system especially right now during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. They emphasized the need for quality access to technology and broadband services, and suggested that Congress increase funding for these technological upgrades. They also discussed the issue of transitional housing for young teens who age out of foster care with many facing unique obstacles in transitioning out of care and began their adult lives, as well as the need to increase Social Worker access amid the pandemic as many are unable to conduct home visits or investigate potential risks to a child’s safety.
Melania thanked the group for creating their policy proposals that better informs how “the Executive Branch can better support foster children and families” and that “taking care of America’s children is a bipartisan effort, and we must never stop fighting for those who need us the most.”
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