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December/January 2013Vol. 13, No. 112012 Foster Care Alumni Internship Report

In 2003, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to raising awareness about the children in need of permanent and loving homes, instituted the CCAI Foster Youth Internship (FYI) program. Every year, a new class of foster care alumni is selected for a highly coveted congressional internship that enables them to use their child welfare experience to encourage legislative change. As part of the internship program, each FYI intern is tasked with selecting and researching a policy issue that is meaningful to him or her and affects youth in care. These policy reports, with recommendations, are presented at a congressional briefing and then made available to child welfare advocates. Hear Me Now: Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute's 2012 Foster Youth Internship Report is now available.

In "Transitional Foster Youth, Post-Secondary Education, & Mentor Programs," the author asserts that teens graduating from high school with aspirations of attending college benefit substantially from mentoring programs that provide the support, guidance, and financial assistance they need to realize their dream of postsecondary education. Compared to adolescents in the general population, youth exiting foster care face a number of barriers to higher education; many are more focused on obtaining housing and employment than attending college, and many youth do not have the support systems in place to guide them through this next step.

"A Pill for Every Problem: Overmedication and Lack of Mental Health Services" details the frequent misdiagnosis, overprescription, and overmedication of many youth in need of real, meaningful mental health services. The author presents the story of Kyle, a child formerly in care, and his difficult childhood that included continuous misdiagnoses and extreme overmedication and resulted in adverse biological and behavioral reactions. The author also discusses informed consent and the importance for youth to have the ability to make decisions about their own mental and physical health.

Hear Me Now: Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute's 2012 Foster Youth Internship Report is available on the CCAI website: (2 MB)