I came into foster care at age 6 by no choice, simply because of bad decisions my parents chose to make. When I first came into care, I was so afraid and traumatized by the thought of being away from my family. But once I got older, I understood the reason why I was removed from my mother’s home.
I’ve lived in foster homes and group homes since I arrived in care, including Sasha Bruce and Caitlin Place. I’ve had good experiences in the homes I’ve lived in. During my time in foster care, there have been ups and downs, but foster care has been the best experience I could ever ask for, even though a lot of people stereotype foster care as being “bad” because you’re not with your family. Some may even think that since you’re a child of trauma that you can go in directions that will lead you to the streets or jail. What people fail to realize is that’s not the case with every child.
Coming into care can change some children’s lives in good ways. Everything is not perfect, but I overcame so many obstacles with the right relationships, understanding of trauma, and guidance by caring individuals. I’ve also been inspired to become very successful through my hard times while in care. I believe if it wasn’t for the system, I would not have made it this far, but I’m so strong and dedicated that I always push through. By telling my story, I wish to encourage other youth, like me, to speak up even if their current time in foster care isn’t so good. By speaking up, it can definitely get better and improve.
I now reside with my twin daughters at The Mary Elizabeth House, a teen mothers program in Washington, DC, where I have my own two-bedroom apartment. I graduated with the class of 2020 from HD Woodson high school with a 3.1 GPA. During the summer of 2020, I realized I was pregnant with my twin girls. I continued to move forward with my professional dreams and enrolled at Prospect College in October 2020. I successfully graduated from Prospect College in September 2021 with a 3.8 GPA and a certification in Medical Assistance.
My social worker connected me to The Office of Youth Empowerment LifeSet program. The LifeSet program is assisting me with increasing my professional development skills to maintain long-term employment in the medical field. I recently was working as a Certified Medical Assistant conducting Covid Testing at DC Central Jail. I feel I have a supportive team that includes my LifeSet Specialist, my GAL, The Mary Elizabeth House staff, and my Generations Unit Social Worker. My team helps me navigate everything I need to successfully emancipate once I turn 21 years old. My Generations Unit Social Worker offers me connections in the community and helps me with navigating resources. I believe the support of my team has assisted me with becoming a better parent to my twin daughters.
During my time in foster care, I have been in a supportive placement setting. I am glad that I have the stability of having my own apartment and providing for myself and my twins. I attend my court hearings and Youth Transitional Planning meetings (YTP) so that I can learn my next steps as I move forward to emancipation. It is my recommendation that CFSA continue to find supportive foster parents and supportive housing to youth in foster care. I encourage youth to use their voice to speak up on things they would like to see improved.