Foster Youth Writing Contest Offers Cash Prizes and Publication — Deadline Extended to March 1

Fostering Media Connections (FMC) is running its 2nd Annual Youth Voice Writing Contest, which offers prizes of up to $500 and the chance to be published in The Imprint and our bi-monthly print magazine, Fostering Families Today.  

Our inaugural contest last year was a huge hit, resulting in a number of popular published Youth Voice articles that were widely shared on social media and in child welfare newsletters. We’ve also been thrilled to have a number of contest participants compete in subsequent FMC contests and join our ranks as regular Youth Voice freelance contributors.

Youth ages 18-26 who have a history in the foster care or justice systems are eligible to enter this year’s contest. Applicants must submit a 1,000-2,000-word essay in one of three topics:

  • What does home mean to you?
  • What’s one thing the child welfare or juvenile justice system could have done to help you but didn’t?
  • How has the criminal justice and/or correctional system impacted your family and you personally?

The deadline to enter has been extended to March 1, 2019. You can find more details and instructions at

We’ll be awarding prizes to one winner, one runner up and at least one finalist per topic. The grand prize for each category is $500 cash. Winners will also have the opportunity to have their essays published in The Imprint as well as our print magazine, Fostering Families Today.

Last year, we actually received so many strong submissions that a number of entrants who did not win still had the opportunity to be published and paid our standard Youth Voice freelance rate.

Give a read to last year’s powerful winning essays:

FMC’s Youth Voice program, with support from the Zellerbach Family Foundation and the California Endowment, ensures that stories written by youth, and their perspectives as experts with lived experience, are part of the fabric of The Imprint and Fostering Families Today. Through workshops, internships, one-on-one coaching and contests like this one, we help youth harness the power of media to shape the national conversation on foster care and juvenile justice.

Check out the full collection of The Imprint’s youth voice articles here, and prepare to be inspired by these impressive young writers!

Curious about our Youth Voice program and how you can get involved? Email us at

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