This year, Fostering Media Connections (FMC) launched its first-ever Youth Voice photo essay contest sponsored by Walter S. Johnson Foundation and invited current and former foster youth between the ages of 18 and 24 to submit a collection of three photos that speak to their foster care experience along with a short written narrative explaining ‘Their Foster Care Experience’ photography.
Throughout this week, we will share the winning entries. The winning essays also appear in the September/October issue of Fostering Families Today, FMC’s magazine for foster parents.
Today we are sharing the work of 2nd place contest winner, Christina Parker. Check back all week to see the work of our other top finishers.
Every beautiful soul in these pictures are foster youth and these are depictions of actual foster youth stories. 7-day notices are often executed throughout counties and an overwhelming amount of foster youth will be removed within those 7 days and their belonging placed in a black trash bag.
The first picture “7 dayed” The young women has a 7 in her hand, this represents 7-day notice’s and in the background is a black trash bag filled with her belongings. Her face is full of pain and is meant to be remembered. Many times, foster youth feel forgotten and disposable.
The second picture titled “Medicated” highlights foster youth being overly medicated. The people behind her represents foster parents, social workers, therapist, and teachers. These important people are showed reaching out but not actually ever touching her. To the side of her is someone filling her jar with medication. People are put into foster youth lives to help them but often medication is the only “help” they receive. The youth is no longer herself and despite the people surrounding her having the ability to help her nobody actually does.
The final and most important picture “Resiliency” shows a young woman walking out of the dark towards the light at the end of the tunnel. She is dragging her belonging and the 7-day notice is following her. On her arm, she has tattooed Resilient because although she carries baggage she never loses sight of the light at the end of the tunnel.
Christina Parker was placed in foster care at birth due to drugs being found in her system. She was put in the care of her grandmother after the murder of her mother in LA County when Parker was 1-year-old. Then she was removed from her grandmother at age 9 and placed with a paternal aunt in San Bernardino County.