October is Foster Youth Voice Month, a national campaign led by Selfless Love Foundation to elevate the voices of youth with lived experience in the child welfare care system. This submission is a part of our collaborative series to raise awareness about issues that impact youth with lived experience and highlight their voices.
There comes a time when foster kids hit a breaking point. My breaking point happened when I was 13. I had been in over 30 homes in my first year in care. No one seemed to listen to me or recognize that I was confused by all the changes. My case worker swore that I was just an angry kid and that I belonged in a hospital. As a result, I was medicated to the point that I felt like a zombie. I tried telling my caseworker that medication was not what I needed, but she told me she knew best and that I needed to start listening to her and my team and that they would take care of me. Things progressively got worse.
I started feeling like nothing was going to change. I switched caseworkers, but the cycle of being unheard continued, so did the medication. I believe most caseworkers only see what they want to see. They base everything on the case files they read about the kids. I finally got a caseworker who I felt truly cared about me. She saw past the paperwork and documentation that depicted me as an angry person with behavior issues in need of psych medication. This was far from the truth as I had tried to explain many times. She went above and beyond, ensuring that I got to know her and felt comfortable. I was relieved to finally have someone in my corner who actually took the time to get to know me. My case worker invited me to join Family Support Team and to sit in on other court cases. She also convinced the agency to take me off of some of the prescribed drugs, which eliminated the zombie-like feelings.
My life started getting better. She moved me into a new foster home where I eventually was adopted when I turned 18.